Chelsea knocked out holders Lyon in a penalty shootout to reach the semifinals of the Women’s Champions League after a thrilling second leg at Stamford Bridge on Thursday.
Maren Mjelde’s VAR-awarded penalty with the final kick of extra time cancelled out goals from Lyon’s Vanessa Gilles and Sara Däbritz to level the tie up at 2-2 and send the quarterfinal to spot kicks following Chelsea’s 1-0 win in the first leg.
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Goalkeeper Ann-Katrin Berger was the hero for Chelsea in the shootout, saving from Wendie Renard and, finally, from Lindsey Horan to set up a semifinal clash with Barcelona.
In a game of seemingly endless chances, Berger had to be on her toes from the get go with Delphine Cascarino stinging her gloves three minutes in.
Lyon also saw two Gilles headed chances at corners go begging, while Bruun had another effort saved by Berger.
Managing to ease the pressure and grow into the game as they did in the first leg, Chelsea began to carve out their own chances and it wasn’t long until Sam Kerr fired an effort at goal which Tiane Endler took square on the nose. Endler was then called into action to tip a stinging Lauren James effort over.
Lyon coach Sonia Bompastor wasted little time in bringing Ada Hegerberg on at the half-time break, despite the striker only having played 20 minutes so far this season.
Yet half-time adjustments from counterpart Emma Hayes meant that Chelsea could provide much more resistance in midfield and cut down the frequent balls into the home box. Hegerberg didn’t have a clear chance until after the hour when she nodded wide.
The game was much more even after the break with Chelsea creating a couple of chances, amid injuries that saw both Melanie Leupolz and Ève Périsset forced off for Lyon within five minutes of each other.
It was visiting eight-time champions, though, who took the lead with less than 15 minutes left of the 90 when Horan swept a low cross toward the near post that Gilles flicked home by way of Berger’s glove.
With the teams now level on aggregate, the tempo increased for the remainder of regulation time but no further goals were forthcoming before an extra 30 minutes was needed.
As the rain began to fall over Stamford Bridge, both got back into the attacking rhythm at the start of extra time with the fresh legs of Johanna Rytting Kaneryd giving the tired Lyon defence a new concern.
But in the 200th minute of the tie, with their 18th shot on the night, Lyon took the lead for the first time on aggregate when Magda Eriksson’s failed clearance skewed at the feet of Däbritz for the Lyon midfielder to fire low across Berger’s goal and find the bottom corner.
Despite Lyon thinking the match was won, the hosts were awarded a penalty deep into stoppage time following a VAR review for a foul on James. After a lengthy wait, Mjelde stepped up and hammered the spot kick into the top left corner, taking the match to a shootout.
Mjelde, Kerr, Hegerberg and Jessie Fleming all converted their penalties for Chelsea, while Berger did her bit in goal to give Chelsea a 4-3 win in the shootout and set up a semifinal meeting with Barcelona.
In the other semifinal, Arsenal will take on VfL Wolfsburg after the Germans played out a draw with PSG earlier on Thursday to go through 2-1 on aggregate.
After the German team won 1-0 at the Parc des Princes last week, Alexandra Popp’s goal in the 20th minute proved decisive in front of 14,367 fans at the VW Arena despite Kadidiatou Diani’s equalizer 10 minutes later for PSG.
Information from the Associated Press was used in this report.