A few days on from our emphatic victory over Arsenal in the Women’s FA Cup final, which completed a clean sweep of domestic honours in 2021, Emma Hayes said ahead of kick-off that she expected to come up against a team that would be difficult to break down.
So it proved, as the Bianconere sat deep with plenty of players behind the ball, looking to leave as little space as possible for our free-scoring attack to work in.
Even so, we still managed to create a number of chances, particularly during a first half in which play almost exclusively took place in the visitors’ half.
Juve goalkeeper Pauline Peyraud-Magnin was fortunate to palm an early shot from Erin Cuthbert onto the crossbar instead of into her own net, but the France international made up for that with a couple of fine saves to deny Guro Reiten and Millie Bright. Sam Kerr also went close when she rounded the keeper but ran out of space to squeeze the ball home.
The Australian had the ball in the back of the net early in the second half, only to be denied the opener by the assistant referee’s raised flag for offside, and there were further chances late on for Bethany England and Bright that went begging. It simply wasn’t our night.
With Wolfsburg winning against Servette in the other game in Group A tonight, they are now level with Juventus in second place on eight points. The Blues are three points better off, but with a trip to Germany to come on matchday six.
There remains the possibility that three sides could finish level on 11 points, which is when the permutations become a little complicated – but a Chelsea win or draw takes that out of the equation to send us through as group winners.
Before then, we’ve got a WSL match at Reading on Saturday morning, as we look to overhaul Arsenal at the top of the standings.