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Lauren James sets the tone as the Blues clinch top spot in the women’s Champions League group

At the double: Lauren James scored twice for Chelsea in their 3-0 win over PSG in Europe (Chelsea FC via Getty Images)

Lauren James scored twice as Chelsea topped their Champions League group with a 3-0 win over Paris Saint-Germain in front of 10,129 at Stamford Bridge.

Emma Hayes’ unbeaten side had already qualified for the knockout stages and simply needed to avoid defeat to their French opponents by two or more goals to lock down their position.

Sam Kerr opened the scoring late on in a tight first half which saw the sides enjoy even possession.

But momentum shifted in the hosts’ favor after the restart when James, who had threatened throughout the opening period, scored two in seven minutes to give her side the comfortable victory.

The Blues’ final match of the group stage marked the first time since 2016 that Chelsea had taken on European competition in the Premier League spot.

Sandy Baltimore fired PSG’s first chance wide of the right post and Kadeisha Buchanan did well to prevent Kadidiatou Diani turning an aggressive run down the left channel into a real opportunity.

Moments later, Diani almost gave the visitors the lead when she unleashed an effort from distance but caught the crossbar.

Chelsea worked their way back up the pitch, Fran Kirby chasing the ball down the touchline and sending a cross to the far post in the direction of James, who stuck out his right foot but couldn’t get a foot on it to force home. an opener.

The Blues began to settle and James deftly avoided several PSG shirts before curling a shot towards a diving Sarah Bouhaddi at the near post.

James tried again and won a battle with his marker on the left of the area before tucking in and curling an effort across goal.

A goalless first half looked increasingly likely until the ball skipped just past Sakina Karchaoui and PSG failed to clear. Kerr broke free and moved the ball neatly from her right to left foot before unleashing an unstoppable effort into the top right corner.

Both sides looked aggressive to start the second half but Bouhaddi threw a pass to his teammate and instead directed it into the path of James who was able to take it to Fran Kirby.

Another quick touch from Kerr set up James perfectly, who fired past the PSG keeper from the edge of the six-yard box for his first Champions League goal.

It took her just seven minutes to grab her brace after a well-worked passing sequence ended with a perfectly placed touch from Kirby on the left of the area to set up James’ composed second strike.

Kirby almost set up a late fourth for the Blues, but substitute Beth England steered her effort wide of the target, prompting a gasp but not a goal as the game drew to a close.

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