Women’s Champions League: Lyon Beat Chelsea to Set Up Final vs Barcelona
Women’s Champions League: Lyon will bid for a fourth straight title when they take on first-time finalists Barcelona.
Lyon beat Chelsea 3-2 on aggregate to advance to Women's Champions League final. (Photo Credit: Lyon)
Madrid: Chelsea manager Emma Hayes lamented Swedish referee Sara Persson's "horrendous" officiating after title-holders Lyon knocked the Blues out of the Women's Champions League at the semi-final stage on Sunday.
South Korea's Ji So-yun scored with a fine free-kick for Chelsea but it was not enough to defeat European powerhouse Lyon who had gone ahead through Eugenie Le Sommer's well-taken goal that secured a 1-1 draw in the second leg and 3-2 aggregate victory.
French side Lyon will now face Barcelona in a bid for a fourth successive Champions League crown.
Hayes, while proud of how Chelsea had pushed Lyon hard, made no attempt to hide her unhappiness with Persson's performance.
"I'm going to take a fine for it, but I thought the referee was horrendous," said Hayes.
"You really want strong officials in big games. She didn't manage the game, I think she was scared of them. She didn't control both teams."
Chelsea pressed hard for a second goal in the second half with captain Karen Carney curling a fine shot against a post.
Defeat left the London club unable to qualify for next season's Champions League as Chelsea cannot finish in the top two of this term's English Women's Super League.
'SCARED THE LIFE OUT OF THEM'
"Unfortunately we've been too much of a nearly team this year," admitted Hayes.
"We've gone toe-to-toe with the champions of Europe, we scared the life out of them and made them average," she added.
"Lyon's seven-year dominance is massively threatened. It's the start of a new era in the women's game. We just would have liked to have progressed and put the nail in their coffin today.
"But I can't be critical, I'm so proud of my players."
Lyon boss Reynald Pedros accepted Hayes' assertion that his side's European dominance is now under serious threat.
"Our rivals are getting stronger," he said. "We're very much aware, we knew from our experiences once you get to the knockout stages, this year and last year, that other teams are getting stronger.
"We know we've got to work even harder than ever to stay ahead of the pack."
BARCELONA WOMEN BEAT BAYERN TO REACH FIRST FINAL
Barcelona Women will play Lyon in their first ever Champions League final after beating Bayern Munich 1-0 on Sunday to secure a 2-0 aggregate victory.
Lyon will be attempting to lift the cup for a fourth consecutive time, and sixth overall, when they play the final in Budapest on May 18.
But Barca have never gone this far, having lost in the last four to Paris Saint-Germain on their previous best run in 2017.
Mariona Caldentey's penalty towards the end of the first half proved the difference against Bayern in front of a crowd of 12,764 at Miniestadi, a Barcelona record for a women's home match.
The one blot on the afternoon was Kheira Hamraoui being sent off in the 70th minute, which left her team hanging on and means she will be suspended for the final.
Bayern captain Melanie Leupolz had earlier rattled the crossbar and Sara Dabritz was among those to miss good chances during a period of sustained pressure after half-time.
Barca keeper Sandra Panos also made an excellent save to deny a header from Dominika Skorvankova and as time ran out for Bayern, frustration grew, with their coach Thomas Worle sent off for dissent.
The result might have been more emphatic had the Catalans been more clinical late on but it took nothing away from their celebrations, as players and staff raced onto the pitch at the final whistle.
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