Women’s Champions League holders Lyon crash out against PSG

Women’s Champions League holders Lyon crash out against PSG

An own goal from the Lyon captain, Wendie Renard, helped Paris Saint-Germain secure a 2-1 away win and send the holders crashing out of the Champions League at the quarter-final stage, bringing an end to a 1,788-day reign as champions of Europe.

The US striker Catarina Macario, recruited from Stanford in the summer, scored for Lyon in the fourth minute but PSG then flipped the script. They were level after 24 minutes, the Lyon defender Kadeisha Buchanan doing well initially to win a challenge with Marie-Antoinette Katoto but the when a loose ball fell to Grace Geyoro, who fired high into the roof of the net.

A teasing cross from French forward Kadidiatou Diani was then poked into her own net by Renard just past the hour mark to level the tie and give the visiting side the away-goal advantage at 2-2.

The French champions poured forward in search of a goal that would put them into the semi-final against Barcelona but PSG held firm, with the strong right hand of Christiane Endler denying forward Melvine Malard an injury-time leveller.

“We’re very, very happy,” said Geyoro. “I don’t think we realise what we’ve done yet. We played a great game collectively from start to finish. We knew we had to come here and score two goals. And we did that. We never gave up.

“They’re a great team and we know that. They’ve won lots of trophies, but now it’s up to us to believe. We’ve added all the ingredients necessary to reach the top. We’ve improved a lot. We have a strong and solid squad – we showed that today and we’re very proud.”

Lyon secured a 1-0 away victory over their Ligue 1 rivals but the return leg was delayed because of an outbreak of Covid-19 in the Lyon squad. Macario told the Uefa website: “For Lyon, it’s not logical to be eliminated. It’s a surprise. But Paris are an improving team. Bravo to them. We have to keep working to show who we are: we are Olympique Lyonnais. We’re not in our best physical form at the moment. We’ll have to discuss this game and analyse it so that we can see what we need to improve.”

The remarkable comeback will go down as one of the finest in Champions League history and a new name will be on the trophy for the first time in six years.

PSG are yet to win the Champions League, having twice finished runners-up to Lyon, in 2015 and 2017. Olivier Echouafni’s team are currently top the league having got the better of the Ligue 1 champions domestically, too. Of Lyon’s 23 competitive games, they have won 21, with both defeats inflicted by PSG.

PSG will play Barcelona in the first leg of their semi-final on Saturday, while Bayern Munich host Chelsea on Sunday in the first leg of the other last-four game. The return legs will be played on 1 and 2 May, with the final taking place at the Gamla Ullevi stadium in Gothenburg on 16 May.