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Chelsea reach Champions League semi-finals as draw with Ajax secures progress
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Rachel Steinberg
Press Association
Chelsea secured their spot in the semi-finals (Bradley Collyer/PA)
Chelsea secured their spot in the semi-finals (Bradley Collyer/PA)

Chelsea reached the Champions League semi-finals for the fifth time in their history after a 1-1 draw with Ajax at Stamford Bridge secured a comfortable 4-1 aggregate victory.

The Blues entered the evening already 3-0 ahead from their first-leg victory in Amsterdam and further eased any tension when Mayra Ramirez netted her first Champions League goal to open the scoring after 33 minutes in west London.

It came after a nervy start for the hosts, who narrowly avoided conceding from a first-half mishap before Chasity Grant drew Ajax level with one of few chances after the break.

Chelsea will face the winners of the last-eight clash between holders Barcelona and Norwegian side Brann, who play their quarter-final second leg tomorrow night.

Emma Hayes made seven changes from the side that beat West Ham in the Women’s Super League on Sunday, while 16-year-old Ajax midfielder Lily Yohannes, called up to the US women’s national team on Tuesday, served a suspension after picking up her third yellow card of the competition in the first leg.

Ajax captain Sherida Spitse nodded onto the roof of Zecira Musovic’s net from a short corner at the beginning of the first half.

Erin Cuthbert, wearing the captain’s armband for the hosts, skimmed the edge of the post with an effort, before Ashley Lawrence made perhaps the wrong decision when she might have had a shot of her own, instead unable to find the sliding Aggie Beever-Jones with a cross.

There were also missed opportunities for Ajax. First Romee Leuchter dragged an effort wide before the Blues survived a nervy incident when Musovic crashed her clearance against Tiny Hoekstra and gratefully watched as it rolled inches wide.

Chelsea had multiple chances to do it sooner but finally opened the scoring in the 33rd minute when Guro Reiten slipped Ramirez through and the Colombian obliged with a low finish through the legs of crouching Ajax keeper Regina van Eijk.

Jonna van de Velde looked to level, firing just over, and while Chelsea enjoyed a surge of chances before the break it was Ajax who looked most likely to score when Leuchter sent an effort across the face of goal on the stroke of half-time.

Leuchter threatened again, forcing Musovic into a low save after the restart, one of the only chances for either side until Hoekstra played through Grant, who drew the sides level when she fooled Musovic with a low finish in the 65th minute.

It took a brilliant block from Musovic to claw away another Leuchter effort and Ajax kept the Chelsea keeper busy to the end.

Musovic denied substitute Danique Tolhoek’s attempt as the Blues – who had their own late chances – secured safe passage to the final four. 


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