Nusken goals put Chelsea in control of Champions League quarter-final

Chelsea's Sjoeke Nusken scores against Ajax in the Women's Champions League quarter-final first leg

Sjoeke Nusken’s double helped Chelsea earn a comfortable win at Ajax and take control of their Women’s Champions League quarter-final.

Ajax, who are competing at this stage for the first time, hit the post in the early exchanges but from then on Chelsea dominated to take control of the two-leg tie.

Lauren James opened the scoring after a through ball was intercepted but an attempted clearance rebounded off an Ajax defender into her path.

The England forward calmly rounded the goalkeeper to slot into the empty net, with the video assistant referee (VAR) awarding the goal after it was initially ruled out for offside.

Guro Reiten had a goal disallowed by VAR with Nusken stood in an offside position, but the latter scored Chelsea’s second moments later.

The Germany midfielder slid in to meet Reiten’s low cross and steer home for her first Champions League goal.

The second half was a more cagey affair with Chelsea showing patience, but Nusken powered home from a brilliant Catarina Macario cross to put Emma Hayes’ side in compete control before the second leg.

That takes place at Stamford Bridge on Wednesday, 27 March.

Barcelona, who beat Chelsea in the 2021 final and 2023 semi-finals, or Braan await in the semi-finals.

Dominant Blues put one foot in semi-finals

Chelsea have been lacklustre at times in the Champions League this season, but this was a very satisfying evening for Hayes’ side.

Ajax played in front of 400 fans in their last match, but a Dutch-record 35,997 turned out for this tie and were buoyed when Ajax’s all-time leading goalscorer Romee Leuchter curled against the far post from outside the area.

Chelsea soon silenced them with a string of attacks, though.

James showed her usual composure to open the scoring, and net her first in the competition this season, with VAR awarding the goal after a long check.

The technology has only been introduced from this round onwards and Chelsea will be grateful that it has been, but they may feel aggrieved by Reiten’s disallowed strike.

The Norway winger initially misjudged a header from a James cross, but the ball landed nicely for her to lash home with her right foot.

An extremely lengthy VAR check followed, with Italian referee Maria Caputi eventually going to the screen and opting to rule the goal out because of Nusken impacting a defender’s ability to clear from an offside position.

That frustration only lasted a couple of minutes though, with Nusken superbly drifting into the area to slide on to Reiten’s perfect cross.

Nusken, who made her Chelsea debut in October, and Cuthbert both volleyed Reiten crosses over the bar in the second half as Chelsea looked like they may leave the door ajar for Ajax.

That, however, was shut by Nusken, who did brilliantly to get in front of her marker and power a header home from six yards for her fourth goal in two games.

This was a perfect first leg for the quadruple-chasing Blues and, as a result, Hayes may feel she has the option of resting some players next week as the fixtures pile up.


Ajax Women

Formation 4-3-3

  • 1van Eijk
  • 18Keijzer
  • 26Kardinaal
  • 25de Sanders
  • 24de Klonia
  • 10Noordam
  • 21van GoolSubstituted forNoordmanat 87′minutes
  • 20YohannesBooked at 14minsSubstituted forvan de Veldeat 67′minutes
  • 15Grant
  • 7Leuchter
  • 19HoekstraSubstituted forKeukelaarat 73′minutes


  • 5Verhoeve
  • 6van de Velde
  • 12Hoekstra
  • 13Niënhuis
  • 16Noordman
  • 17Jansen
  • 22Sabajo
  • 23Keukelaar
  • 29Tolhoek
  • 31van der Wal

Chelsea Women

Formation 4-4-2

  • 24Hampton
  • 15Périsset
  • 7Carter
  • 26Buchanan
  • 21CharlesSubstituted forBeever-Jonesat 87′minutes
  • 19Rytting KanerydSubstituted forLawrenceat 74′minutes
  • 22CuthbertSubstituted forCankovicat 84′minutes
  • 8LeupolzSubstituted forIngleat 87′minutes
  • 11Reiten
  • 6Nüsken
  • 10JamesSubstituted forMacárioat 74′minutes


  • 1Musovic
  • 5Ingle
  • 9Macário
  • 12Lawrence
  • 14Kirby
  • 28Cankovic
  • 33Beever-Jones
  • 40Cox

Maria Ferrieri Caputi

Match Stats

Live Text

Post update

Match ends, Ajax Women 0, Chelsea Women 3.

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