Lyon have reached a 10th Women’s Champions League final thanks to a 5-3 aggregate victory over domestic rivals Paris Saint-Germain, setting up a truly mouth-watering final of epic proportions with holders Barcelona next month.
Ada Hegerberg’s early header ultimately proved decisive in the tie although Marie-Antoinette Katoto cancelled it out on the night, before Wendie Renard restored the two-goal aggregate lead.
Already 3-2 up from the first leg, Lyon didn’t need long to extend their aggregate when Hegerberg steered an exquisite header beyond the reach of PSG goalkeeper Barbora Votikova. The Norwegian met Selma Bacha’s deep cross from the left and directed the ball back across goal.
Votikova stopped Lyon going 2-0 up on the night midway through the first half when she picked the ball off the toe of Delphine Cascarino, who had beaten Amanda Ilestedt in a foot race to go one-on-one with the goalkeeper.
Renard got a free header wrong at a corner that was another excellent chance to increase the advantage. A later set piece in the closing stages of the first half caused more mayhem in the PSG box but was eventually scrambled clear.
A rush of blood from Christiane Endler soon after the break almost gifted PSG a way back in as Kadidiatou Diani raced through, but Renard was on hand to diffuse the danger.
Lyon thought they had struck the absolute killer blow moments after that when Hegerberg put the ball in the net with her head for the second time. But roars erupted around the Parc des Princes when a VAR review ruled it out for an offside just prior – it was marginal.
It was then game on when Katoto, who had been largely starved of service in the first half, cut PSG’s aggregate deficit back to a single goal. Sara Dabritz and Diani both played a role in the goal, which rebounded into Katoto’s path after Sandy Baltimore’s effort was saved.
Football is all about fine margins and the whole tie could have swung on a moment when Sakina Karchaoui had the chance to put PSG ahead on the night and level the tie. But as she tried to lift it over Endler, the Chilean stopper was out quick to stop it.
When Renard scored with her head from Bacha’s pinpoint free-kick, towering above the PSG defence, it settled Lyon’s nerves and knocked the last of the stuffing out of the hosts.
1. PSG (4-3-3)
GK: Barbora Votikova - 6/10 - Prevailed in a one-on-one against Cascarino. Didn't return for the second half after picking up a painful looking injury.
RB: Ashley Lawrence - 5/10 - Got caught under the towering Renard for the killer second Lyon goal.
CB: Paulina Dudek - 5/10 - Not commanding enough, particularly at set pieces where Lyon posed a major threat.
CB: Amanda Ilestedt - 5/10 - Didn't always look the most comfortable and a lack of pace was exposed by Cascarino in the first half.
LB: Sakina Karchaoui - 7/10 - Tried to get forward with regularity and covered an unholy amount of ground. Mismatched with Hegerberg at the back post at the early goal. Missed a chance to tie the aggregate score.
CM: Laurina Fazer - 4/10 - The teenager struggled to establish herself.
CM: Grace Geyoro (c) - 7/10 - PSG's focal point in midfield. Tidied up loose balls and read the game well.
CM: Sara Dabritz - 7/10 - Played a key role in the equaliser build up and her set pieces did ask some questions of Lyon.
RW: Kadidiatou Diani - 8/10 - Skilful on the ball but limited in the first half. Began the second much brighter and was a key reason for PSG's fightback.
ST: Marie-Antoinette Katoto - 7/10 - Struggled to get involved for long periods but showed great poacher's instinct to equalise on the night.
LW: Sandy Baltimore - 6/10 - Provided an obvious out ball down the flank but was often marshalled in open play. Her saved effort led to PSG's goal.
SUB: Charlotte Voll (46' for Votikova) - 6/10
SUB: Ramona Bachmann (46' for Fazer) - 6/10
2. Lyon (4-3-3)
GK: Christiane Endler - 7/10 - Endured a couple of nervy moments but a big second half save from Karhaoui kept Lyon ahead on aggregate.
RB: Ellie Carpenter - 7/10 - Had a tough task to manage Baltimore and seemed to do it pretty well overall.
CB: Wendie Renard (c) - 9/10 - Distributed the ball well and had two chances to score the first half alone. Finally got her goal late in the match.
CB: Griedge Mbock Bathy - 6/10 - Started ahead of Kadeisha Buchanan and was mostly on top of Katoto, but not totally.
LB: Selma Bacha - 8/10 - Came away with a pair of assists, the first a deep cross from the left and the second an in-swinging free-kick from the right.
CM: Amandine Henry - 6/10 - Covered across to the right well to shut off PSG's threat on that side.
CM: Catarina Macario - 5/10 - Pretty quiet overall after two goals in the first leg but flexed with an impressive run and shot near the end,
CM: Lindsey Horan - 6/10 - Competed well enough.
RW: Delphine Cascarino - 6/10 - Should have scored when she attempted to take the ball round Votikova in the first half.
ST: Ada Hegerberg - 7/10 - Netted a sublime early header. Had the ball in the net again but VAR ruled if out for an offside in the build up.
LW: Melvine Malard - 5/10 - Tried the spectacular with an overhead kick in the opening stages and fluffed her lines with an air kick just before half-time.
SUB: Damaris Egurrola (58' for Malard) - 5/10 -
SUB: Eugenie Le Sommer (80' for Cascarino) - N/A
SUB: Kadeisha Buchanan (86' for Mbock Bathy) - N/A