Chelsea thrash Ajax in 1st leg to close in on UWCL semifinal


Lawson predicts Chelsea to overcome Ajax in UWCL

Sophie Lawson believes Chelsea's experience in the UWCL will be a deciding factor when they meet Ajax in the knockout stages.

Chelsea beat Ajax 3-0 away in the first leg of the Women's Champions League quarterfinals on Tuesday to close in on a second straight appearance in the last four of Europe's top competition.

England forward Lauren James opened the scoring and Germany midfielder Sjoeke Nüsken added goals either side of half-time for Chelsea, who are bidding to win the Champions League for the first time.

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The second leg is at Stamford Bridge on March 27.

The London club are chasing a quadruple of major trophies in coach Emma Hayes' final season in charge before she takes the helm of the United States' women's national team. Hayes' team leads the Women's Super League, is into the final of the English League Cup and has reached the quarterfinals of the FA Cup.

Sjoeke Nüsken scored twice for Chelsea in their first leg win over Ajax.
Harriet Lander - Chelsea FC/Chelsea FC via Getty Images

Ajax are competing in the knockout stage of the Champions League for the first time and caused plenty of problems for Chelsea early on at Johan Cruyff Arena, only to concede goals from the visitors' only two shots of the first half.

James rounded the goalkeeper and slotted home in the 19th minute for a goal that stood after a VAR check for offside, before Nüsken slid in to convert the second in the 44th.

Nüsken headed in the third goal in the 83rd to leave Chelsea in total control.

In Tuesday's other quarterfinal first leg, Lyon, the record eight-time champions, came from behind to beat Benfica 2-1.