Advertisement

Matildas' Carpenter homes in on Champions League final

Ellie Carpenter has taken a step closer towards another Women's Champions League final after playing a key part in Lyon's extraordinary comeback win against their fellow French luminaries Paris St Germain in the semi-final first leg.

The Matildas' full-back, who suffered an ACL injury early in the final when Lyon lifted the trophy for the eighth time against Barcelona in 2022, could be on her way to another showdown as the French aristocrats of the women's game came from 2-0 down at home to beat PSG 3-2.

After striker Marie-Antoinette Katoto had put PSG 2-0 up, Lyon struck with three goals in a six-minute spell in the final 10 minutes.

Carpenter was on hand to create the first of those in the 80th minute with her overlapping run and cross setting up Kadidiatou Diani to prod home and drag them back into the contest.

Midfielder Melchie Dumornay and Amel Majri also struck for the French champions to set up a fascinating return leg in the French capital next Saturday.

Meanwhile, Chelsea, even without the injured Matildas' skipper Sam Kerr, have put themselves in the driving seat of their semi-final tie after an extraordinary 1-0 triumph ended Barcelona's five-year unbeaten home run.

Two-time Ballon d'Or winner Alexia Putellas missed a fantastic chance to equalise, shooting wide from close range with the last kick of the game at the Olympic Stadium to ensure Emma Hayes' team will start at Stamford Bridge with the advantage.

Not that Hayes was about to get ahead of herself.

"It's just halftime, nobody should get carried away with that," she warned.

"I'm disappointed we didn't get the second goal. Barcelona are world-class in everything they do. You have to expect they're going to create chances, but I think for the most part we limited them."

Indeed, the visitors took away the time and space Barcelona normally enjoy in the Spanish league. Extraordinarily, Barca, who have averaged four goals a game this season, didn't even get a shot on target.

In the absence of Kerr, whose goals have been badly missed by Chelsea of late as they got knocked out of the League Cup and FA Cup, it was Erin Cuthbert who turned into their goalscoring hero for the day.

The high pressure led to the 40th minute goal when forward Mayra Ramirez forced a turnover, setting up Sjoeke Nusken's pass to Cuthbert, who beat a defender and fired the ball into the top right corner to stun the crowd of 36,428.

Chelsea still haven't won the Women's Champions League, nor its predecessor, the UEFA Women's Cup, having been hammered 4-0 in their only final appearance by Barcelona in 2021.

Barcelona, who also eliminated Chelsea last season en route to their second title, were set for a penalty after a 52nd-minute handball on Blues defender Kadeisha Buchanan, but it was overturned on video review because Salma Paralluelo was offside.

Paralluelo also misfired on a good scoring opportunity late in the game as Barcelona ended up disgruntled about their first home defeat since February 2019.

With AP