Olympique Lyonnais welcomed Chelsea to the Groupama Stadium on Tuesday, where the two sides would contest the first leg of their UEFA Women’s Champions League Quarterfinal. Despite Chelsea’s success in England, Lyon posed an entirely different threat – and their UWCL record is incredibly impressive, having won six out of the last seven tournaments.
LYO: Endler; Morroni, Renard, Gilles, Carpenter; Däbritz, Egurrola, Horan; Marozsán; Le Sommer, Cascarino
CHE: Berger; Carter, Bright, Buchanan, Périsset; Ingle, Leupolz; Reiten, Cuthbert, James; Kerr
Lyon had the first chance of the game with just over ten minutes played, as Eugénie Le Sommer ran on to the end of a pass that split the Chelsea defence – but Ann-Katrin Berger did enough to put the French striker off, and her shot fired wide of the post.
Lauren James found Sam Kerr after running almost the entire length of the pitch, but the return pass was cut out well by the Lyon defence and the chance went begging for the Blues. Emma Hayes’ side took the lead just before the thirty-minute mark though in sensational style, as Erin Cuthbert sent the ball through the legs of a Lyon defender, before laying the ball off to Guro Reiten who sent a first-time curling effort past Christiane Endler to send Chelsea 1-0 up.
The Blues came close to finding a second goal just five minutes later, as Lauren James did well to get away from Perle Morroni before curling a low strike towards goal – though it struck the bottom of the far post and rebounded back into play! Chelsea’s defence was dealt a damaging blow just before the break, as Millie Bright was forced off through injury, being replaced by Magdalena Eriksson.
Having provided the assist for Chelsea’s opener, Erin Cuthbert came close to doubling her side’s lead after the break – powering a low strike on goal, though that was parried out by Endler, who did well to recover quickly and claim the ball to deny Sam Kerr a certain goal.
Chelsea appeared to switch off for a moment or two around the hour mark, giving the ball away inside their own box. Delphine Cascarino unleashed a shot, but it crashed off the post – cue a huge sigh of relief for Emma Hayes and her side. Cascarino was involved in another chance for Lyon, as she played in Ellie Carpenter on the right flank – but her shot was dragged wide of the post.
Sam Kerr should have bagged Chelsea’s second with fifteen minutes left to play, as Lauren James’ ball over the top found the Australian international, who took a touch before firing a shot well over the crossbar. Another opportunity game in the 89th minute, though a strong hand from Christiane Endler denied Johanna Rytting Kaneryd a certain goal.
Chelsea progress to the next leg at Stamford Bridge with a one-goal advantage, and Emma Hayes will look to ensure her side progress – eliminating the tournament favourites in the process.