After a season away from Europe’s elite, Emma Hayes’s side wasted no time establishing ourselves in the competition on our return, and we were in front after only 80 seconds thanks to a milestone goal from Kirby.
Chelsea’s No.14 turned home a low cross from Pernille Harder to take her tally for the club to 69, which surpassed the previous record, which she shared with Eniola Aluko. Few will have been more straightforward than this finish, which she simply could not miss.
Although Benfica briefly offered up a firmer defence, once we’d breached their backline for a second time the floodgates opened. Millie Bright was the scorer, heading home a Guro Reiten free-kick, and by the time the opening 45 minutes were up our lead was four.
Reiten was twice the provider, the first for Kirby to clinically slot home and the second a corner kick which Harder headed past the keeper, and when the referee blew for half-time it was clear the game was over as a meaningful contest.
Bethany England made it 5-0 shortly after the interval, confidently firing in her first Champions League goal after being sent through by Ji So-Yun and, with a busy schedule on the horizon, Hayes took the opportunity to make wholesale changes inside the first 15 minutes of the half.
Although there were no further additions to the scoresheet, it had been a more than satisfactory first European outing this term and the Blues will be odds-on favourites to secure our place in the last 16 when we welcome Benfica to Kingsmeadow for the second leg next Wednesday.