While FC Barcelona and last year’s runner-up Paris Saint-Germain drew their first-leg quarterfinal 0-0 in Barcelona, defending champions FFC Frankfurt scored a 1-0 away victory at Malmo as they beat hosts Rosengard. In two other first-leg quarterfinal matches in the UEFA Women’s Champions League, Lyon inflicted a 9-1 defeat to Slavia Praha while Germany’s VfL Wolfsburg scored an impressive 3-0 win against Italian Club ACF Brescia Calcio Femminile. In next Wednesday’s second-leg matches, Barcelona and Paris will play with a clean sheet and anyone winning will progress to the semifinals. Frankfurt will have the home advantage against Rosengard while Lyon’s semifinal berth is literally assured. With a 3-0 first-leg advantage, Wolfsburg too should not find a problem even if they will be playing away from home.
Playing at home at the Mini Estadi, Barcelona took to the field after warming up in jersey no.23 in honor of their defender Leire Landa, who donned that number. PSG were the heavy favorites but they couldn’t get past Barcelona in 90 minutes as the match ended in a goalless draw. Paris had their chances but Barcelona goalkeeper Sandra Panos was equal to the task and affected several saves. PSG’s Brazilian forward Cristiane had the best chances but couldn’t succeed in scoring. Now the second-leg quarterfinal at Paris on March 30 holds the key. PSG will be the favorites but one never knows since it is the performance of the day that matters.
Defending champions FFC Frankfurt traveled to Malmo to play against hosts Rosengard. In an intensely fought battle, both teams had their chances but they couldn’t convert any in the field. Rosengard had a new Canadian goalkeeper in Erin McLeod but she was forced to leave the field after just 13 minutes. Her place was taken by substitute goalkeeper Sofia Lundgren, who did well to thwart Frankfurt. The match remained goalless until the 71st minute, when the handball from Rosengard’s Lina Nilsson resulted in a penalty for Frankfurt. For the reigning champions, Dzsenifer Marozsan converted and that was the lone goal of the match. The semifinal berth will be decided, when Rosengard arrive in Germany to play the return-leg game on March 30.
The goal-fest in the first-leg quarterfinals came in the game between Lyon and the Czech club Slavia Praha. Playing in front of almost 12000 home fans, Lyon shot 9 times into Slavia Praha’s goal. Louisa Necib began it all with an 18th minute goal and with Le Sommer, Ada Hegerberg and
Griedge M’Bock Bathy scoring in 24th, 35th and 39th minutes, the score jumped to 4-0. For Slavia, Katerina Svitkova reduced the margin with a 42nd minute goal and the teams went for break at 4-1. Lyon continued the barrage in the second half and goals kept coming at regular intervals. Hegerberg and Bathy added one more goal each to their tally, Camille Abily struck twice and Amel Majri added one as Lyon romped home 9-1 to virtually secure the semifinal berth for them.
In the only other first-leg quarterfinal, VfL Wolfsburg defeated Brescia 3-0. The first-leg advantage puts Wolfsburg in a great position to make it to their fourth semifinal in four appearances including victories in the 2012-13 and 2013-14 seasons. Though Brescia looked dangerous at times, Wolfsburg took the initiative and went 1-0 ahead in the 32nd minute with a goal scored from a beautiful long-distance strike by Tessa Wullaert. The first half ended at this score but early in the second half Alexandra Popp converted a cross to make the score 2-0. Popp had missed several chances earlier and it was just as well that she got into the scoring mode. The third goal was scored by Caroline Graham Hansen, who was quick to pounce on a defensive lapse by Brescia.