The games between Paris Saint-Germain and Olympique Lyonnais tend to be tightly contested matches and this semi-final tie proved to be no different. PSG hosted Lyon at the Parc des Princes knowing that they needed to score at least one goal to take this game to extra time or, win by at least two goals to get to the UEFA Women’s Champions League final.
Despite the strong home support throughout, it was bitter rivals Lyon that won the game and won the tie, thus setting up a tasty final in Turin against FC Barcelona in a few weeks time. Goals by Ada Hegerberg and Wendie Renard were enough to counter PSG’s lone goal from Marie-Antoinette Katoto and end the hosts’ journey in the UWCL
PSG’s backline remains shaky
As shown in the first leg, for all of PSG’ prowess going forward, they seem incredibly shaky at the back especially against Lyon. That defensive fragility came back to haunt them in the second leg as well. On Hegerberg’s goal, PSG were caught on their heels as Selma Bacha picked out Hegerberg inside the box. Both Paulina Dudek and Amanda Ilestedt had lost Hegerberg who then went up against Sakina Karchaoui to get the ball, a competition Hegerberg will always win. She then made her header look easy, guiding it post Barbora Votíková’s despairing dive and into the top corner.
The second of Lyon’s goals had been coming. Throughout the match, PSG had not dealt with defending their set pieces well at all. Renard and others had been found unmarked inside the penalty area and it had taken some desperate defending, and some poor finishing, to stop Lyon from scoring a second earlier. They had been saved prior to their equaliser by VAR which had ruled Melvine Malard to be offside in the build to Ada Hegerber’s disallowed goal but they didn’t heed that warning and tighten up defensively.
That wasn’t the case late in the second half. Once again, Wendie Renard was left to a smaller marker and she towered over Ashley Lawrence to nod home the game winner.
Poor finishing costs PSG
In the second half, a tactical switch saw Ramona Bachmann come on and she began to create problems for Lyon. Unfortunately for her, and her teammates, PSG could only score on one the numerous opportunities they generated for themselves.
Christiane Endler was forced into some good saves and Karchaoui should have scored what would been one of the goals of the tournament. Instead, PSG continued to mishit their shots which allowed Lyon to block their efforts and also keep the scoreline at 1-1 after Marie-Antoinette Katoto had put PSG back on level terms.
Lyon will now prepare for a massive final against Barcelona, a team they beat three years ago to win the Champions League. This is a different Barcelona to the one they faced back in 2019 but the seven-times winners will feel confident in their ability to gain their eighth title.
PSG on the other hand, will know that the reason why they aren’t in the final themselves is their overall poor defending. If they want to win this competition, that will have to be something they address this summer as they have great attacking and creative players but their defensive structure remains suspect. Tonight, they will look back and wonder what could have been had they been a little more cleaner at the back, and a little more clinical in front of goal.