despite a success at Chelsea, OL are eliminated on penalties

In front of his computer screen – the matches were broadcast live on YouTube – the new coach of Les Bleues had a difficult evening. Officially inducted on Thursday, a few minutes before the first of the two quarter-finals played by French clubs, Hervé Renard first witnessed the elimination of PSG (held in check by Wolfsburg 1-1) and the injury to the shoulder of the Parisian star striker of Les Bleues, Kadidiatou Diani.

Then the former Saudi Arabia coach observed the disillusionment of OL, who were eliminated in the penalty shootout (4 pens to 3) despite a 2-1 victory after extra time. Beaten 1-0 in the first leg by Chelsea, the Lyonnaises can harbor some regrets. The German Sara Däbritz believed to offer the qualification for the semi-finals to the club of the president Jean-Michel Aulas by scoring the second Lyon goal in the 110e minute of play. But a contentious penalty awarded on the edge at Chelsea after the intervention of the video referee allowed the English to snatch the shots on goal.

And Lyon captain Wendie Renard – the main rebel of Les Bleues, who should appear on Friday in the first list of her namesake Hervé Renard for international matches against Colombia and Canada – missed Lyon’s first shot on goal. Before the American Lindsey Horan in turn misses a second shot on goal, synonymous with elimination.

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In London, in a gala match played at Stamford Bridge, reigning European champions Lyon – eight times titled since 2011 – showed two radically different faces. In eight European games this season, Chelsea had conceded only one goal: against Real Madrid in a 1-1 draw. Lyon, who finished second in their group behind Arsenal, remained silent for a long time against Chelsea, before registering two. It took a pure center-forward goal from Canadian defender Vanessa Gilles to finally deceive goalkeeper Ann-Katrin Berger and allow coach Sonia Bompastor’s players to go into extra time (1-0).

A match with few chances

Two years after their elimination in the quarter-finals of the competition against their Parisian rivals, the Rhone club suffered the same fate. There will be no tricolor club in the last four of the Champions League for the first time since 2014. Only one French player will play in the semi-finals: the “Blues” Eve Périsset, born in the suburbs of Lyon and trained at the OL.

In the absence of several injured major players (Catarina Macario, Griedge M’Bock or even Amandine Henry), Lyon did not have an easy task in England. And the entry into play at the break of her Ballon d’Or 2018, the Norwegian Hegerberg, who returned from a long injury last weekend, gave the necessary impetus to her teammates. It was she who notably sent the decisive pass to her teammate Däbritz for the second goal which could have been decisive.

In a game that was generally poor in scoring opportunities, it was the locals who provided the most dangerous entry. At the quarter of an hour, Sam Kerr appeared, alone, against Christiane Endler, but the Chilean goalkeeper from OL blocked the shot from the Australian striker from Chelsea with her face. Lyon got hot, caught up in this fast counterattack.

Nice tap dance

at 23e minute, the English winger Lauren James reviews the Lyon defense, before forcing Endler to a new parade more conventional thanks to a beautiful tap. Omnipresent, two minutes later, the last bastion plays the Liberos outside its surface to cut the trajectory of the ball in front of Sam Kerr. Opposite, the first Lyon possibility does not intervene until the 29e minute following a fine movement that ended with a half-volley by Signe Bruun, easily stopped by Ann-Katrin Berger.

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Injured for several months and scoring for her return to competition last weekend against Guingamp in Division 1, Ada Hegerberg had not played in the Champions League since the last final won against Barcelona in May 2022. Holder for the first time since her return from maternity, Amel Majri has been discreet, replaced at 73e minute by Vicki Becho, young hope of French football.

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Deprived of Pernille Harder and Fran Kirby, two of their best players, the English had given in for the first time at the end of the game. At the 77e minute of play, Vanessa Gilles took advantage of a cross from the snatch of the American Lindsey Horan to put the two teams in perfect equality over the two games. During extra time, Bompastor made full use of his bench: Melvine Malard, Perle Morroni and Dzsenifer Marozsan came into play.

Chelsea snatched qualification in the penalty shootout.

And it was another substitute, Sara Däbritz, who, at this point in the game, qualified hers with a cross shot, out of reach of goalkeeper Berger. Without really dominating Chelsea, perhaps thanks to force of habit, the teammates of captain Wendie Renard think they have achieved the hardest part. But the fault committed by Vicki Becho at the 124e minute of play allows Maren Mjelde to transform a penalty which changes the fate of this double confrontation.

In the semi-finals, on April 22 and 29, Chelsea will face Barcelona and Arsenal will face Wolfsburg. On June 3, the day of the final, we will know the successor to Olympique Lyonnais. By the 2023 World Cup, which takes place in Australia from July 20, French players only have Division 1 to eat. Perhaps a blessing in disguise for coach Hervé Renard, who agreed to take up a perilous challenge in just a few months and who will be able to take advantage of the full concentration of his internationals.


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