Tottenham Hotspur suffer defeat to Chelsea in the Continental Cup
- Credit: PA
Chelsea preserved their perfect record in the FA Women’s Continental Tyres League Cup this season with a 2-0 win over Tottenham Hotspur at Kingsmeadow.
A second-half rocket from Erin Cuthbert and a late Melanie Leupolz penalty sent the Blues top of Group B with two wins from two.
The visitors came closest to opening the scoring after just six minutes when Siri Worm clattered a free-kick against the post from 20 yards out.
That was as close as Spurs would come to a goal as they were once again without their marquee summer signing and United States international Alex Morgan.
Chelsea got their first sniff when Jonna Andersson worked her way into the box but opted to blast over the crossbar rather than pick out a team-mate.
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Ten minutes later and in a similar position, Andersson this time stood the ball up for Niamh Charles at the back post to head into the path of Pernille Harder, who lashed an effort high into the stands.
Chelsea continued to probe until two minutes before half time when a loose ball fell to Millie Bright, who unleashed a rocket at the Spurs goal that was equally matched by Becky Spencer.
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Just as they did in the first half, Spurs came closest to the opener after the break when Rosella Ayane spotted Ann-Katrin Berger off her line but just missed the target.
The breakthrough did eventually come with 20 minutes remaining when Cuthbert unleashed a missile past Spencer from just outside the penalty area.
Spurs almost found an immediate response but Berger denied Ayane with a flying save to her top right corner.
But the hosts wrapped up the three points on 84 minutes when Sophie Ingle’s shot was handled in the box and Leupolz stepped up to fire past Spencer.
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Tottenham Hotspur head coach Juan Amoros said: “I think the girls only really came into the game in the second half and even after the goal and the penalty they did really well.
“So I can only say positive things today. We played against one of the best teams in the world, if not the best with the players they have in their squad.
“It’s a bad result of course because we lost and we always want the result but it was a positive performance. We deserve a little bit more luck because sometimes you need it.
“We hit the inside of the post and Rosella [Ayane] could have scored in the top corner but the goalkeeper saved - sometimes you just a little bit of luck.
“Ashleigh Neville is someone who has been very committed to the club for a very long time and every day she develops and she learns.
“We are trying to help her going forward now but I think she is a player with fantastic potential.”
Chelsea manager Emma Hayes said: “Everybody has been off on international break so we really needed that game.
“We played them in pre-season and beat them 6-1 so there was no way it was going to be the same because teams learn quickly from that.
“I thought they were aggressive, defended well and made it difficult for us - they made it difficult for us to find a rhythm.
“I said to the girls at half time that we won’t score if we don’t shoot because the game was so intricate.
“We just needed someone to pull the trigger so thank goodness Erin [Cuthbert] did that because that was what was lacking from us. “
Chelsea (4-3-3): Ann-Katrin Berger, Jonna Andersson, Millie Bright, Magdalena Ericsson, Maren Mjelde, Melanie Leupolz, Ji So-Yun, Niamh Charles, Erin Cuthbert, Pernille Harder, Sam Kerr
Substitutes: Guro Reiten for Charles 58’, Jessie Fleming for Harder 58’, Bethany England for Kerr 58’, Maria Thorisdottir for Mjelde 75’, Sophie Ingle for So-Yun 79’
Substitutes not used: Emily Orman, Jess Carter
Bookings: Fleming 67’
Goals: Cuthbert 70’ Leupolz 84’
Tottenham Hotspur (5-4-1): Becky Spencer, Lucia Leon, Kerys Harrop, Shelina Zadorsky, Siri Worm, Ashleigh Neville, Josie Green, Ria Percival, Angela Addison, Rianna Dean
Substitutes: Alanna Kennedy for Leon 66’, Lucy Quinn for Ayane 82’, Gemma Davison for Dean 82’, Elisha Sulola for Green 90’
Substitutes not used: Sophie Whitehouse, Hannah Godfrey
Bookings: Neville 90’
Referee: Emily Heaslip