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Dublin: 20 °C Thursday 28 May, 2020

Cuthbert stunner keeps Chelsea in touch with Lyon in Champions League

Lyon narrowly beat the Blues 2-1 in the first leg of their semi-final.

ERIN CUTHBERT KEPT Chelsea’s hopes of a first-ever Champions League final alive with a superb second half volley on Sunday as Lyon narrowly beat the Blues 2-1 in the first leg of their semi-final.

Cuthbert rocketed home a long-distance volley 18 minutes from the end in a stirring second-half display that will give Emma Hayes’ side hope of seeing off the French side in England next weekend.

France Soccer Womens Champions League Lyon's Delphine Cascarino, center, celebrates with Ada Hegerberg, right, and Lucy Bronze, left. Source: AP/PA Images

Lyon, who are five-times winner of the competition and in the hunt for their fourth straight title, looked set to cruise through at half-time thanks to Magdalena Ericsson’s own goal and a glancing finish from Amandine Henry.

Chelsea squeezed past Paris Saint-Germain 3-2 thanks to a last gasp winner from Maren Mjelde in the previous round, and will be more confident of knocking out the dominant force in women’s football after taking the game to Lyon in the second period.

However they could rue Fran Kirkby missing a soft-looking penalty on the stroke of half-time, and giving away two sloppy goals in the first half that could yet see them knocked out.

Lyon were gifted their opener in the 27th minute when Blues centre-back Ericsson turned Delphine Cascarino’s cross past her own goalkeeper Ann-Katrin Berger.

Chelsea were sloppy again for Lyon’s second, giving away an unnecessary corner and then watching the ball sail past everyone via the slightest of touches from Henry.

The London side dusted themselves off after the break and got their deserved goal thanks to Cuthbert, who perfectly met Bethany England’s knock with a left-footed strike that crashed past Sarah Bouhaddi in the Lyon goal.

Hamraoui puts Barcelona within reach of final

Barcelona have one foot in the final of the Women’s Champions League after Kheira Hamraoui’s second half winner gave them a deserved 1-0 win at Bayern Munich in Sunday’s semi-final first leg.

Hamraoui, who won the tournament with Lyon last season, showed her class with a well-taken winner to give Barcelona a deserved lead and a one-goal advantage ahead of the second leg next week.

Imago 20190421 Source: Imago/PA Images

With both sides looking to make their first ever appearance in the final, the game proved to be a cagey affair for long periods.

Bayern had their backs to the wall for much of the first half, as Barcelona dominated possession.

Clear cut chances remained few and far between for the visitors, although they twice struck the woodwork with speculative efforts from both Vicky Losada and Hamraoui.

Bayern rallied shortly before half-time, with chances falling to Sara Daebritz and Fridolina Rolfoe.

The hosts continued to be pushed back after the break, however, and Barcelona finally unlocked the defence just after the hour mark.

A slick move on the right wing saw Mariona Caldentey set up Hamraoui, who found the far corner with a sharp finish.

Daebritz came close to equalising for Bayern on 73 minutes, slaloming through the box before forcing a reflex save from Barcelona keeper Sandra Panos.

The Bayern striker then hit the bar with a late free-kick, but Barcelona held on to secure the win.

© – AFP 2019

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