Lyon were not hosting Chelsea in the Women’s Champions League to make their life easy, and that is what they showed from kick-off. With all the confidence of an eight-time continental winner, they moved forward and kept the Blues and goalkeeper Ann-Katrin Berger in check whenever they were able to find a view to the goal near the box.
But Lyon were not overly dominant, and manager Emma Hayes was able to deploy some of their best “weapons” in attack with Lauren James, Sam Kerr, Erin Cuthbert and Guro Reiten making up the quartet to lead our attacking forays. The latter two would combine beautifully to score our first goal of the day.
Lyon continued knocking on our door and had a couple of moments which could have turned into clear-cut chances had it not been for them missing passes, shots or the ball entirely. Chelsea meanwhile also had chances which were even better than Lyon’s, including a Lauren James shot that unfortunately hit woodwork just a few minutes before halftime.
Captain Millie Bright had to leave the pitch early in the first half, and Magda Eriksson took over the centre-back role and the armband as well. Once the second half started, Lyon were playing as if their lives depended on getting a single goal today. They were greatly helped by Chelsea’s sloppy play in midfield and defence.
That did not mean Chelsea had no chances of extending their lead. In fact we had great ones, which were either saved by Lyon shot-stopper Christiane Endler who was on a great night, or offside as it was the case with a Sam Kerr chance that the Australian striker herself shot off target.
- Once again, Emma Hayes doing what she can with the starting eleven given all the injuries she has had to deal with. Ann-Katrin Berger starts at goal, and Kadeisha Buchanan returns to the backline. Sam Kerr and Lauren James are also back after getting a fair amount of rest last weekend, as we faced Reading in the FA Cup quarterfinal.
- Subs are Magda Eriksson for Millie Bright, Niamh Charles for Erin Cuthbert, Johanna Rytting Kaneryd for Lauren James, and Maren Mjelde for Ève Périsset.
- Erin and Guro are such gems!
- Lauren James is a force of nature. With better luck in her shots at goal, she will become unstoppable.
- Hope it is nothing major with Millie Bright, who was limping while leaving the pitch in the first half. Same goes for Erin, who held her thigh as she was substituted.
- We should be well aware by now that this Chelsea team is not as good as the one that got to the Champions League final back in 2021. However the decline in overall talent should not excuse how sloppily this team plays against top competitors.
- One-goal advantage in the tie. Let’s finish the job!
- Next up: Manchester City in the Women’s Super League