UWCL: Chelsea v Lyon
Maren Mjelde and Ann-Katrin Berger's nerves of steel see Chelsea knock out UWCL title-holders Lyon in dramatic fashion
31 March 2023
Maren Mjelde and Ann-Katrin Berger were the heroes for Chelsea on a dramatic evening at Stamford Bridge in the UEFA Women’s Champions League quarter-finals as they knocked out holders Lyon after a penalty shoot-out. Vanessa Gilles and Sara Dabritz had put the French side 2-0 ahead (2-1 on aggregate) before Mjelde scored from the penalty spot eight minutes into stoppage time at the end of extra-time to level the scores after the two matches. Berger then saved two penalties during the shoot-out which Chelsea won 4-3 and saw the Blues progress to the semi-finals.
Emma Hayes made two changes for the Blues from their defeat to Manchester City in the Women’s Super League at the weekend with Eve Perisset and Niamh Charles coming in for Sophie Ingle and Mjelde. Millie Bright missed out after getting injured in the first leg last week. Hayes lined her side up in a 4-4-2 formation, explaining after the match this is because she knew they could get them in the transition spaces, and that Lyon would kill them down the sides if they played 4-2-3-1.
Lyon’s manager Sonia Bompastor made four changes from the first leg with Selma Bacha, Amel Majri, Danielle van de Donk and Signe Bruun coming into the starting eleven. They set up in a 4-3-3 formation.
The visitors made a good start. In the 3rd minute, Delphine Cascarino saw her shot saved by Berger before Chelsea scrambled the ball clear. A minute later, a Magdalena Eriksson clearance went straight to Bruun but she put her shot over from 12 yards, and a couple of minutes later the Danish international put another opportunity over the crossbar.
Chelsea’s first chance came in the 15th minute when Lauren James played a lovely through ball to Sam Kerr but her shot from the edge of the area was saved by Christiane Endler.
Van der Donk had two efforts blocked in the 18th minute, and Gilles then headed corner wide a minute later for Lyon.
The home sides next chance came in the 23rd minute when James twisted and turned in the penalty area before sending a shot towards goal from an angle that was tipped over by Endler. Kerr headed over from the resulting corner. A long ball found Kerr in the 27th minute who passed to Melanie Leupolz but her shot from just inside the area went over.
Bruun had another opportunity for the visitors but her effort was saved by Berger on the half-hour mark. Chelsea had the final two chances of the first half. Gilles got to the ball just before Kerr and cleared a James cross in the 38th minute. James then dragged a shot from 20-yards wide a couple of minutes before half time.
The home side had the first chances of the second half with Guro Reiten shotting straight at Endler in the 49th minute. Kerr then sent an effort from an angle over a minute later.
A long ball from Gilles was headed wide by half time substitute Ada Hegerberg in the 62nd minute for Lyon. There was a long delay whilst Leupolz was treated with blood streaming from her nose before she was eventually replaced.
Lyon took the lead in the 77th minute and levelled the scores on aggregate. A low cross from Lindsey Horan from the right-hand side was turned in at near post by Gilles.
An effort from substitute Mjelde was blocked and cleared as Chelsea looked for goal that would surely put them through.
As seven minutes of stoppage time were signalled, Hegerberg headed over the bar for the visitors. Lyon were finishing the match well and putting pressure on the hosts. There were no more goals though so with the tie level at 1-1 on aggregate, it went to extra-time.
Horan saw an effort from 25-yards go wide in the second minute of the extra 30 for Lyon. Horan had the visitors next chance but her header was kept out by Berger before a quick Chelsea counter-attack that was stopped by van de Donk. Rain started to come down as Cuthbert controlled the ball 25-yards out and shot over in the 97th minute for the Blues. In the 102nd minute, Bacha shot wide following a corner for the French side. Lyon’s defence were forcing Chelsea backwards when they were in attacking positions.
Lyon went ahead 2-0 on the night and 2-1 on aggregate in the 110th minute when Hegerberg’s cross from the right-hand side went across the penalty area and found Dabritz who finished low into the bottom corner of the net from 12-yards.
In stoppage time of the second half of extra-time, a long free-kick into the penalty area from Chelsea eventually found James who went down with loud appeals for penalty waved away by the referee Ivana Martincic. Then there was a pause whilst VAR checked the incident and told Martincic to look at it again on the monitor. After a watching it again a few times, Martincic deemed Vicki Becho had fouled James and signalled for a penalty. The Lyon bench were not happy about it. Mjelde stepped up to take the spot kick but this was delayed futher by the referee telling players to move away from the penalty area as this would be the last kick of the game. The majority of the 15,111 supporters held their breath whilst Emma Hayes couldn’t watch as the Norwegian took the penalty and sent the ball high into the net to level the scores on aggregate.
A penalty shoot-out followed to decide who would make it through to the semi-finals. Berger saved Wendi Renard’s spot kick before Endler kept out James’. It was 3-3 going into the last of the first five penalties. Jess Carter scored for Chelsea before Berger saved Horan’s penalty to win the shoot-out 4-3 for the Blues and send them through to the final four and a meeting with Barcelona. Hayes admitted afterwards that she only watched the penalties because “Guro (Reiten) made me”. She then pointed out Chelsea had never won a penalty shoot-out before this one.
When speaking to the media after the match, Hayes described the performance as “character building even if it was the ugliest.” She described Mjelde as “a Chelsea legend” and that “she has blue blood”. Hayes also noted it was impressive for her to take two pressure spot kicks so quickly after each other. She also praised Berger, saying she is the “best penalty saving goalkeeper I have ever worked with”, and Hayes also said she was “really confident going into the penalty shoot-out even if I didn’t look it”. When asked about injuries and fixture schedule at Chelsea, she commented that “I am ready to go”.
Chelsea’s win sees them join Arsenal in the semi-finals, the first time two English sides have reached that stage since 2018. Hayes mentioned how brilliant it was Arsenal getting through, and “I am so happy for English football, both teams are through”.
The Blues next match is in the WSL on Sunday evening away at Aston Villa.
Chelsea (4-4-2): Berger, Perisett (Mjelde 73’), Buchanan, Eriksson (c), Carter, Charles, Cuthbert (Fleming 111’), Leupolz (Ingle 71’), Reiten (Rytting Kaneryd 90’), James, Kerr
Unused substitutes: Musovic, Orman, Abdullina, Cankovic
Goal – Mjelde (pen) 120’+8
Booked - Ingle
Lyon (4-3-3): Endler, Carpenter, Gilles, Renard (c), Bacha (Morroni 105’), Egurrola (Dabritz 56’), Horan, van de Donk (Marozsan 105’), Majri (Becho 73’), Cascarino (Malard 97’), Brunn (Hegerberg 45’)
Unused substitutes: Belhadj, Bosse, Le Sommer, Sombath, Cayman, Benyahia
Goals – Gilles 77’, Dabritz 110’
Booked - van de Donk, Marozsan
Referee – Ivana Martincic (Croatia)
Attendance – 15,111