PSG and Barcelona draw in first leg of Women’s Champions League semi-final. Jennifer Hermoso put the Catalans in the lead, but Alana Cook equalized just a couple of minutes later.
Olivier Echouafni put Formiga in the starting line-up due to Luana‘s injury. The Brazilian extended her own record as the oldest player to appear in the Women’s Champions League knockout stage with 43 years and 53 days. Another blow for Parisians was the Kadidiatou Diani absence due to ankle injury. Alana Cook took her place. On the other side Lluis Cortes has made three changes to his side since their last European game. Patri Guijarro‘s suspension put Kheira Hamraoui into midfield, Jennifer Hermoso fills in for Asisat Oshoala and Lieke Martens replaced Marinona Caldentey on the left of the attack.
📋 𝗧𝗘𝗔𝗠 𝗡𝗘𝗪𝗦 📋
Which players will shine in Paris today? #UWCL | Semi-finals
— UEFA Women’s Champions League (@UWCL) April 25, 2021
Barcelona took the control of the game immediately and started looking for a breakthrough. Caroline Graham Hansen was inside the penalty area on the right-hand side, tried with a shot towards the far corner but Christiane Endler prevented the early lead. The Chilean could have done better in the 13th minute when Barcelona took the lead. Graham Hansen again outplayed the Paris defence on the right, sent in a cross that evaded the diving Endler and found Jennifer Hermoso who headed the ball in. But it didn’t take long for Parisians to get a goal back. From a corner kick, Alana Cook took advantage of a perfect delivery from Marie-Antoinette Katoto to equalize with a perfect header. Thaw was a debut goal in the Women’s Champions League for the American. Barcelona kept looking for their second goal. Alexia Putellas and Hermoso were close to it but Endler redeemed herself with two great saves. On the other side, PSG could have got in the lead but Marie-Antoinette Katoto shot, that has already beaten Sandra Paños, was stopped by the post.
— PSG Féminines (@PSG_Feminines) April 25, 2021
Before the break, Paris were especially dangerous on breaks and set pieces and Barcelona had to be very careful in midfield. Consequently, the pace of the play dropped in the 2nd half. Neither team wanted to risk too much as they were both pretty satisfied with a 1st leg draw. Hermoso twisted her ankle and was subbed off which could presented a big loss for Blaugrana if she won’t recover in time for the 2nd leg. Her substitute, Azizat Oshoala, had an opportunity for a tap-in following excellent work from Graham Hansen down the right, but misfired at the near post from a low cross. Both sides seemed to remain confident they can advance after the 1st leg draw, so there was no more real action until the final whistle.
🔥 [FINAAAAAAL!] 🔥
— FC Barcelona Femení (@FCBfemeni) April 25, 2021
The active result should result in a more intrigue and entertainment next Sunday in Barcelona. The Parisians have never lost to Blaugrana before but will have to score in order to advance. On the other hand, a goalless draw would be enough for Catalans, but it is very unlikely that we actually witness that.
“I expected a strong Paris team – intense and quick in transitions. I think we responded well to that, but we would have wanted to have more possession, though it was tough on a hard pitch. For sure, we would have deserved to score more goals, but they too had chances to score one or two more, especially from set pieces. I felt good about the game. We showed we can stand up to any team. There was no gulf between the sides. It’s not easy against Paris, who are a big team. But we were strong in the game and have every hope of reaching the final.” – Lluis Cortes, Barcelona head coach
“My feelings are mixed, but this was a top-level game, a semi-final. We know the quality of this team. In the end, 1-1 is a balanced scoreline, though we’re a little frustrated with chances we missed – especially before half-time which would have enabled us to take a lead into the break. We need to be more clinical in the second leg. We missed some chances – too many at this level. We need to improve our positioning as well and be more compact.” – Olivier Echouafni, Paris SG head coach
Paris SG – FC Barcelona 1-1 (1-1)
Scorers: 13′ Jennifer Hermoso (B), 21′ Alana Cook (P)
Yellow cards: 30′ Formiga (P), 36′ Andrea Pereira (B), 52′ Perle Morroni (P), 63′ Mapi Leon (B)