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Chelsea, Wolfsburg reach Women’s Champions League semifinals

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Chelsea, Wolfsburg reach Women’s Champions League semifinals


Chelsea players celebrate after winning the penalty shootout after the Women’s Champions League quarterfinal second leg match against Olympique Lyon at Stamford Bridge, London, Thursday, March 30, 2023. [AP Photo]

Chelsea goalkeeper Ann-Katrin Berger saved two penalties to help Chelsea knock out title holder Lyon 4-3 in a shootout and reach the semifinals of the Women’s Champions League after a suspenseful and hard-fought contest at Stamford Bridge on Thursday.

It was a bad evening for French clubs as Paris Saint-Germain also exited the tournament with a 2-1 loss on aggregate against Wolfsburg.

Chelsea was on the verge of elimination after Sara Dabritz gave the eight-time champions the lead in extra time with a left-footed shot after she connected with a cross from Ada Hegerberg.

But the French team could not hold onto its advantage as it conceded a penalty deep in added time following contact between Lyon forward Vicki Becho on Lauren James on the left of the box.

The penalty was awarded following a VAR check. After a long delay, Maren Mjelde took the kick and scored to force a shootout. Berger stopped Lyon captain Wendie Renard’s effort and then parried away Lindsey Horan’s shot, prompting huge celebrations from her teammates.

The Blues will next take on Barcelona in a rematch of the 2021 final.

Lyon headed to London trailing 1-0 from the first leg and waited until the 77th to level the tie when Vanessa Gilles beat Berger at the near post.

Two-time champion Wolfsburg made it to the last four for the second year in a row. After the German team won 1-0 at the Parc des Princes last week, Alexandra Popp’s goal in the 20th minute proved decisive in front of 14,367 fans at the VW Arena despite Kadidiatou Diani’s equalizer 10 minutes later for PSG.

Wolfsburg hit the woodwork three times.

“We are mega happy and mega proud, it was a tough fight,” Popp told broadcaster DAZN. “We fought our way in, took the duels. The first goal was extremely important for us.”

Unbeaten in eight Champions League matches this season, Wolfsburg will face Arsenal in April’s semifinals after the London club advanced Wednesday by beating Bayern Munich 2-0 at Emirates Stadium to overturn a 1-0 deficit from the first leg.

Popp put Wolfsburg in the driver’s seat with a superb strike into the far corner. PSG pushed hard for an equalizer and deservedly got it when Diani headed home a cross past goalkeeper Merle Frohms.

PSG’s hopes of progressing took a blow when Diani was forced off just before the break with a shoulder injury.  



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