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Olympique Lyonnais see off PSG (barely) in the UWCL

The first leg saw the hosts hold on to a 3-2 after a game full of mishaps and palpable tension

Olympique Lyon v Paris Saint-Germain: Semi Final First Leg - UEFA Women’s Champions League Photo by Catherine Steenkeste/Getty Images

With 22,000 plus fans in the Parc Olympique Lyonnais, you knew that this UEFA Women’s Champions League first leg between Olympique Lyonnais and Paris Saint-Germain was going to be a heated and hard fought one. A brace from Catarina Macario and Wendie Renard’s converted penalty were enough to see the hosts take an advantage into the second leg next week in Paris,

PSG managed to score two goals of their own through Marie-Antoinette Katoto and Paulina Dudek but it was Lyon who were the better side and ultimately deserved the win.

Lyon lead but must be aware of the threat PSG possess

Lyon take a 3-2 lead into the second leg and will be fairly happy with that result. However, PSG showed throughout the game that if you give Marie-Antoinette Katoto, Kadidiatou Diani and Sara Däbritz any space in and around their area, they will punish you. In the first leg, only Katoto made the most of her chance in front of Lyon’s goal but PSG were a threat every time they went forward.

In fact, they showed that threat early in the match. After Lyon had started the stronger, Kadeisha Buchanan lost the ball in her own third and then Katoto proceeded to skip past Wendie Renard with ease before catching out Christiane Endler at her near post. Lyon know the danger that Katoto possesses yet they still gave her too much time and space in the box to punish them. After this goals, they did a better job at keeping Katoto away from their goal but that was a warning for Lyon. The second leg will see PSG push forward and that means that Katoto will be looking for opportunities like that constantly.

Despite scoring a penalty, Wendie Renard looked ragged any time she had to face Katoto and Lyon’s midfield didn’t always drop deep enough to stop Däbritz from operating just in front of their backline. That can’t happen again in the second leg from Lyon’s perspective because PSG won’t be as bad as they were defensively again. Lyon need to tighten things up at the back and do better when they get to the final third in attack. If they don’t, PSG have the players to be able to turn this tie around and knock their rivals out of the Champions League for the second season in a row.

Miscommunication at the back causes problems

Throughout most of the game, there seemed to be a sense of nervousness or anxiety emanating from PSG’s backline and their goalkeeper. Any time Lyon put together a serious of passes, PSG’s defense was exposed too easily and they were fortunate that their opponents did not make the most of those chances especially in the first half. However, PSG will need address this quickly during the upcoming week because if it happens again, Lyon will score more than one goal from that fragility at the back.

In the first leg though, PSG were only punished twice for their calamitous defending. Goalkeeper Barbora Votíková in particular did not have a good game and was at fault for all three of Lyon’s goals. The first goal, which resulted in a Wendie Renard penalty, came when Votíková was beaten to the ball by Melvine Malard in the 22nd minute of the game. The second, Votíková mishit her kick out of her own penalty area and Ada Hegerberg was on hand to take a touch and play though Catarina Macario in the 33rd minute, whi then duly displatched her first of the day. Finally, the worst of the three from Votíková’s perspective occurred in the 50th minute when she and Paulina Dudek did not communicate clearly enough with each other and allowed Macario to bundle the ball home from right on the goal line.

Barbora Votíková redeemed herself right before the end of the match when she produced a smart save to stop Hegerberg but she and her teammates will not be happy with the goals they conceded.

PSG will look back on this game and be overall happy with the result as they should have conceded more goals. They will also back themselves to score in front of their home fans and it sets up an intriguing second half to this tie featuring France’s fiercest rivals.