Chelsea advance to Champions League Quarterfinal

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Manager Emma Hayes said Chelsea have learned from their “hardest moments” to ensure smooth qualification to the Women’s Champions League quarter-finals.

The 2020-21 runners-up failed to progress from the group stage last season, but a 4-0 victory over Vllaznia confirmed their place in this year’s last eight.

Hayes’ side remain unbeaten in the competition and lead Group A with a game to go following their latest routine victory in Albania.

“I wouldn’t say relief is the right word. We had the opportunity to close [conversations on] last year. The questions in and around the group stage last year – we don’t have to answer any more,” said Hayes.

“This team does so well to learn in its hardest moments. We understand what the group stage is in this competition and I think we’ve navigated them really well this season.”

On a wet night in Albania, Wales midfielder Sophie Ingle put Chelsea 1-0 up after 12 minutes when she coolly struck into the bottom corner from Guro Reiten’s deflected cutback.

Fran Kirby doubled the lead shortly afterwards when she was slipped in by Jelena Cankovic, who acted quickly and Vllaznia were slow to react to a free-kick.

Substitute Katerina Svitkova headed in a third goal late on, before Maren Mjelde also came off the bench to score from the penalty spot in added time.