On Wednesday, the second-leg quarterfinal games were played in women’s UEFA Champions League. Defending champions FFC Frankfurt had a determined Rosengard squad to contend with and the match was decided in favor of the hosts only after the penalty shoot-out. With Wolfsburg repeating their fist-leg score-line against Brescia, the stage has been set for an all-German semifinal. Playing at home, Paris Saint-Germain edged out FC Barcelona by a late goal and they also have a French Club to play against in the semifinal because Lyon defeated Slavia Praha on aggregates even after a goalless draw at Prague’s Eden stadium. Now after the two-legged semifinals are completed on May 1, the two teams playing in the final in Reggio Emilia on May 26 will be assuredly from France and Germany.
On March 30, title holders Frankfurt were up against Rosengard, the Swedish club from Malmo better known as FCR across Sweden. FCR avenged their first-leg home loss with a 28th minute goal from the 25-year old midfielder Sara Bjork Gunnarsdottir and over 120-minute playing time, no more goals could be scored by either side. For Rosengard, Gunnarsdottir produced a header from a high cross and the teams were locked at 1-1 on aggregates. Frankfurt faced tremendously energetic visitors, who wouldn’t allow any chances into their goal. But the match held chances for both teams especially in the extra time. FCR’s substitute Natasa Andonova had a real chance but her strike couldn’t find the target. A little later, Frankfurt’s Simone Laudehr almost came close to scoring the winning goal, but her shot was cleared at goal-line. After 120 minute, as the penalty shoot-out ensued, Gunnarsdottir missed the penalty. Despite other Rosengard shooters finding the mark, Frankfurt converted all 5 chances and with Marith Priessen converting the last shot, Frankfurt sailed into the semis.
At Charlety arena in Paris, the home team found the same frustration they faced in the first-leg game at Barcelona last week. PSG had dominated play in the away game and they did likewise at home. But Paris couldn’t get past the Barcelona defense. The two teams also feature in the men’s championship league and they were aiming for a unique men and women’s championship double. But Barcelona lost the race in the 86th minute, when Paris substitute and newcomer Rosana ran hard from deep and sent a cross to PSG’s Brazilian recruit Cristiane. The Brazilian dived forward to produce an amazing header that beat Barcelona goalkeeper Sandra Panos, who had otherwise excelled for Barcelona in both legs. But the fully stretched Panos missed and PSG went through to the semifinal.
Holding a 3-0 first-leg advantage, VfL Wolfsburg went to the Italian city of Brescia and played their second-leg quarterfinal against the hosts at the Mario Rigamonti stadium. Once again, Wolfsburg showed the same dominating performance as they had done at home last week. Brescia had reached the quarterfinal for the first time but they couldn’t handle Wolfsburg, who added to their first-leg tally in 7th and 33rd minute with both goals being scored by Zsanett Jakabfi. In the second half, Ramona Bachmann shot from long-range and found her mark. There was just one real scoring chance for Brescia but Cristiana Girelli missed the target. In addition, Brescia were reduced to 10 women, when Roberta D’Adda committed an offence in 85th-minute and red-carded after two bookings. With 6-0 aggregate score, Wolfsburg easily marched to the semifinal.
Virtually assured of the semifinal berth with their 9-1 first-leg rout of Slavia Praha, Lyon arrived at Prague’s Eden Stadium without the fear of any miracle in the second-leg. To a great consolation of the home team, the match ended goalless despite Lyon making several attempts on Praha goal. To the home team’s credit, they produced a fine performance with the goalkeeper Bara Votikova making some grand saves to keep Lyon at bay. With 9-1 aggregate score, Lyon ensured their place in the semifinal.
In the all-French semifinals, Lyon will play PSG with the first-leg fixtures three weeks away. It may not be easy for them but Lyon still have the chance to avenge their Round-16 loss to Paris last season. In the other all-German semifinal, Frankfurt will also have a tough challenge from Wolfsburg, but the final on May 26 will certainly see a French club playing against on from Germany. Another event is still on card. PSG and Wolfsburg are still in fray in the men’s league and they will look forward to making it a unique men and women’s UEFA championship double.
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