BY PAUL LAGAN
Ramona Bachmann a sensational Maren Mjelde volley and a cute clipped effort by Fran Kirby saw off a dogged Juventus side as Chelsea secured an ultimately secure 3-0 win over Juventus in a pre-season friendly tonight at Kingsmeadow Stadium.
The opening exchanges were fairly even with Sara Gama having the best chance after three minutes, but her flicked effort from a corner, crashed into the side-netting of hedging Lindahl’s goal.
Returning to Kingsmeadow to face her old side, Eni Aluko got a rousing reception on the ninth minute from a vocal section of the Chelsea faithful.
Fran Kirby should have scored a minute later when So Yun Ji clipped the ball through to the striker, who, after beating the offside trap, lobbed the ball over Laura Giuliani, who must have got a slight deflection to nick the ball away from goal for a corner.
The England manager Phil Neville was watching – eyeing the performance of Kirby, Karen Carney, Bethany England, Millie Bright, Jess Carter and Drew Spence ahead of England’s vital World Cup qualifier in Wales at the end of the month.
Chelsea’s dominance of possession bore fruit with two minutes of the first half to go. Ramona Bachmann, slotting home a deft, left-footer from just inside the Juve penalty area.
Erin Cuthbert, Lizzie Durack and Jess Carter replaced Carney, Andersson and Lindahl.
A further spate of substitutions followed which saw Kirby replaced by Adelina Engman but then, on 70 minutes, she suddenly reappeared back on the pitch, replacing Bachmann.
The replacements gave a disjointed feel to the side and Juventus almost capitalised when Millie Bright was caught napping as the sole defender. Thankfully she recovered to block Cristiana Girelli from taking full advantage of the slip.
The Italian side piled the pressure on the Blues defence and they almost scored when Michaela Franco’s header from a corner was deflected over Lizzie Durack’s crossbar by Bright.
A last ditch save by Magdalena Eriksson thwarted Luanne Joan Sanderson as Jess Carter gifted the Juve player with a dreadful back pass with eight minutes on the clock.
But Chelsea notched up number two with a stunning volley by Mjelde which secured the win but Juventus can count themselves unlucky that they did not share the spoils.
Kirby, then finished off the Italians deep into added time with a lovely curling right footer from the edge of the penalty area.
Chelsea: Lindahl, Thorisdottir, Ingle, Carney, Ji, Kirby, England, Eriksson, Mjelde, Andersson, Bachman
Subs: Bright, Carter, Durack, England, Cuthbert, Spence.
Juventus, Giuliani, Hyyrynen, game, galli, Aluko, Girelli, Bonansea, Boattin, Ekroth, Salvai, Sikora
Subs: Sanderson, Franco, Cernoia, Rosucci, Russo, Panzaeri, Nick, Caruso, Bacic
Referee: Dean Holme