Chelsea beats Barca and Lyon tops PSG in Women's Champions League semifinal first legs

BARCELONA, Spain (AP) — Chelsea handed defending champion Barcelona a rare home defeat and Lyon produced a stunning comeback to down Paris Saint-Germain 3-2 in the first leg of the Women’s Champions League semifinals on Saturday.

Midfielder Erin Cuthbert’s 40th-minute goal was enough for Chelsea to win 1-0 and inflict Barcelona's first home loss in five years.

Striker Marie-Antoinette Katoto put PSG 2-0 up against eight-time champion Lyon, but the home side scored three late goals in a six-minute spell through forward Kadidiatou Diani, midfielder Melchie Dumornay and Amel Majri.

The second legs are next weekend and the final is on May 25.

Chelsea and PSG have never won the competition. In its only final appearance, Chelsea was routed by Barcelona 4-0 in 2021. PSG has been runner-up twice.

Things looked good for PSG when Katoto scored either side of halftime after PSG goalkeeper Constance Picaud made three fine first-half saves.

Katoto scored her first on halftime from Sandy Baltimore’s cutback, and the second goal came in the 48th after a blocked effort from Tabitha Chawinga fell to her.

Chawinga set her up again in the 77th but veteran Chile goalkeeper Christiane Endler thwarted her.

That missed chance proved very costly.

Three minutes later, Diani pulled a goal back against PSG, where she played for the previous six seasons.

Dumornay equalized in the 85th when she curled the ball past Picaud and, one minute later, the home crowd could hardly believe it as Dumornay set up Majri for a left-footed finish inside the far post.

The game at Groupama Stadium broke the attendance record for a Lyon women’s home match with 38,500 tickets sold.

The second leg is at Parc des Princes next Sunday.

Earlier, two-time women's Ballon d'Or winner Alexia Putellas missed a glorious chance to equalize when she shot wide from close range on the last play at Lluís Companys Olympic Stadium to send Emma Hayes' team back to Stamford Bridge with the advantage.

The visitors took away the time and space Barcelona normally enjoys in its domestic league, with the home team failing to get a shot on target.

The high pressure paid off when forward Mayra Ramirez forced a turnover, setting up Sjoeke Nüsken's pass to Cuthbert, who beat a defender and fired into the top right corner to stun the crowd of 36,428.

“I’m disappointed we didn’t get the second goal. They are world class in everything they do," Hayes told broadcaster DAZN. "You have to expect they’re going to create chances, but for the most part we limited them.”

Barcelona, which also eliminated Chelsea last season en route to its second title, was set for a penalty after a 52nd-minute handball on Blues defender Kadeisha Buchanan, but it was overturned on video review because Salma Paralluelo was offside. Paralluelo also misfired on a good scoring opportunity late in the game.

Barcelona's squad includes reigning Ballon d'Or winner Aitana Bonmati and other members of Spain's World Cup-winning team. Its last home defeat was in February 2019.

The Catalan team is going for its third title in four years but has work to do next Saturday in the second leg in London.

“They played well, but we have lots of things we can improve because we did not attack with the precision we are accustomed to,” Barcelona defender Irene Paredes said. “They got the game they wanted. They were trying to let the clock tick from the very start, and then they got their goal."


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