This year’s UEFA Women’s Champions League is set to end on the highest of notes. The royalties of this competition, Olympique Lyonnais, seven-time title winners overall, who had been winning this title every year since 2016, were knocked out in the quarter-finals this time round by Paris Saint-Germain in spectacular fashion, paving way for a new winner for the first time since 2015 when a team other than Lyon lifted the trophy (Eintracht Frankfurt won in 2014-15).
After an intense round of semi-finals, we have our two finalists. Here’s a quick recap of the semis –
Paris Saint-Germain Féminine [2–3] FC Barcelona Femení
Jennifer Hermoso (13’) secured an away goal for Barça in the first leg, played at the Stade Municipal Georges Lefèvre in Paris on April 25, as they drew 1-1 against PSG after Alana Cook equalised for Les Parisiennes in the 21st minute.
Beating OL in the last round couldn’t give PSG enough belief to see Barça off in the second leg which was played at Johan Cruyff Stadium in Sant Joan Despí on May 2. Midfielder Lieke Martens set the tone for the Blaugranes by securing a brace in the first half (8’, 11’). Marie-Antoinette Katoto got one back for PSG in the 34th minute and a strong display followed from the Parisians, but to no avail.
FC Bayern Munich [3–5] Chelsea FC Women
Bayern Munich tanked Chelsea’s enthusiasm after beating them 2-1 in the first leg which was played at the FC Bayern Campus in Munich on April 25. Sydney Lohmann (12’) and Hanna Glas (56’) bagged the goals for Bayern, but Melanie Leupolz managed to keep Chelsea’s hopes alive with an away goal in the 23rd minute.
Chelsea came out of the gates strongly in the second leg (played at Kingsmeadow, Kingston upon Thames on May 2), with Fran Kirby opening the scoring just 11 minutes into the game. Sarah Zadrazil, then, equalised for Bayern with a wonder-strike in the 29th minute. Ji So-yun hit a Bayern wall with her free-kick in the 43rd minute before hitting home the rebound and giving Chelsea the lead on the day. Both sides continued to attack each other before Pernille Harder headed one in for her side in the 84th minute, giving Chelsea a lead on aggregate. Bayern continued to hit Chelsea with all they had for the remaining minutes, knowing one goal would still take them through on away goals, even coming awfully close on multiple occasions, but they could not break Chelsea’s resolve. Chelsea rammed home their superiority right at the end, when Kirby rounded off a Chelsea counterattack with a goal in the 95th minute. Chelsea won 4-1 on the day.
CHELSEA AND BARÇA WILL FACE EACH OTHER IN THE UWCL FINAL AT GAMLA ULLEVI IN GOTHENBURG, SWEDEN. KICK-OFF IS SCHEDULED AT 12.30AM IST.