Häcken 1-2 Paris Saint-Germain: Chawinga gives PSG a slender lead ahead of second leg

BK Häcken were handed the uphill task of trying to overcome a Paris Saint-Germain side that had only ended up on the losing side in a solitary match across their 15 competitive away days adventures this season. This led to manager Mak Lind unveiling a strong eleven – with Anna Anvegård, Monica Jusu Bah, Rosa Kafaji and Clarissa Larisey all starting in an attack-minded 4-2-3-1 formation.

Meanwhile, Gérard Prêcheur’s side travelled to Sweden with an unblemished two-match historical head-to-head record intact – most recently winning 2-0 in September 2022 – as Katarzyna Kiedrzynek retained her place in goal ahead of Constance Picaud – who did not travel due to undisclosed personal circumstances, while Marie-Antoinette Katoto was missing courtesy of a problematic knee injury.

HAC: Falk; Wijk, Rybrink, Luik, Kosola; Curmark, Sørensen; Anvegård, Bah, Kafaji; Larisey

PSG: Kiedrzynek; De Almeida, Gaetino, Samoura, Karchaoui; Le Guilly, Geyoro, Groenen; Albert, Baltimore; Chawinga

Seeking a seventh visit to the semi-finals of the UEFA Women’s Champions League across the last nine renditions of the competition, Paris Saint-Germain enjoyed a marginal share of possession throughout a tepid opening quarter-hour.

However, a less-than-eventful opening prologue to the game was interrupted in due course as Jennifer Falk got down smartly at her near post to push Grace Geyoro’s volley to the safety of a corner.

Agonisingly for Häcken’s number one, there was nothing that she could do to prevent les Parisiennes from taking the lead in the 23rd minute, as Eva Gaetino celebrated her first start for Gérard Prêcheur in the UWCL by instinctively tapping home the rebound after Tabitha Chawinga had seen her header palmed into the path of the American Under-23 defender by Falk.

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In response to falling behind, Monica Jusu Bah fired a strike from distance over the top of the crossbar but did witness her side getting back on level terms in the 42nd minute from the penalty spot. Thiniba Samoura’s heavy-handed challenge on Anna Anvegård allowed Rosa Kafaji to fortuitously head home the rebound from practically underneath the crossbar following Katarzyna Kiedrzynek saving the Swedish striker’s initial effort from 12 yards.

Determined to regain their lead, Chawinga had the ball in the back of the net in the 53rd minute, but VAR came to Häcken’s rescue after discovering that the goal-hungry striker had strayed marginally offside in the build-up.

However, the footballing gods in the sky could not save the hosts again as Sandy Baltimore’s surging run towards goal in the 74th minute allowed second-half substitute Amalie Vangsgaard to put a delicious delivery into the danger zone that Chawinga fired past Falk with aplomb.

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Kiedrzynek denied Kafaji another goal in this season’s competition with a smart save with time running out for Häcken, as the narrow victory hands Paris Saint-Germain the advantage of heading into the 2nd leg in Paris next Thursday with the reward of meeting Benfica or fellow French outfit Lyon in the semi-finals in their sight.