Chelsea enjoy the kind of magical European night Emma Hayes has been waiting for

·3-min read
 (Chelsea FC via Getty Images)
(Chelsea FC via Getty Images)

Emma Hayes wanted her Chelsea players to make this a “magical European night” - and in the end she got her wish.

During her near 11 years as Chelsea boss Hayes has had some memorable wins, but this is one that will surely live long in the memory as the Blues booked a place in the semi-finals of the Women’s Champions League.

Scroll to continue with content

This was a night full of drama and one that for so long looked as though it would belong to the holders Lyon.

With seconds remaining in extra-time they led 2-0 on the night and 2-1 on aggregate, however Chelsea then got a lifeline.

Vicki Becho brought down Lauren James in the box and VAR intervened and told referee Ivana Martincic to go to the monitor.

The penalty was given and Maren Mjelde slammed the ball into the top corner to send the game to penalties.

You felt like all the momentum was with Chelsea after that, and so it proved. James missed in the shootout but it did not matter as goalkeeper Ann-Katrin Berger made two huge saves to deny first Wendie Renard and then Lindsey Horan.

Against all the odds, Chelsea had won 4-3 on penalties and Hayes had got the night she’d called for in the build-up to this second leg.

Barcelona await in the semi-finals, while a possible showdown with Arsenal in the final is on the cards.

The Blues went into this tie 1-0 up from the first leg of the quarter-final in Lyon, but it was the visitors who came out of the blocks flying and they could have easily scored in the opening five minutes.

Chelsea were shaky earlier on and captain Magdalena Eriksson gifted the ball to Signe Bruun in the box, but the striker fired over.

A minute later Bruun went close again and before that Delphine Cascarino had Berger on her toes.

Chelsea settled down after that frantic five minutes and began to find their stride. Indeed, they could have easily taken the lead themselves but Sam Kerr squandered a great chance.

James turned on the halfway line and, after beating her opposite number, played in Kerr. The striker was clean through on goal, however Lyon goalkeeper Christiane Endler stayed tall to deny her.

Endler had a busy first-half in the end, making a flying save to keep out James’ curling effort and coming quickly off her line to stop Kerr racing through.

Desperate to find a goal Lyon threw on inaugural women’s Ballon d’Or winner Ada Hegerberg at half-time.

The striker is only just back playing after over five months out, making her comeback at the weekend and scoring.

She couldn’t find the net tonight, though, and instead it was Vanessa Gilles who finally opened the scoring with 13 minutes to go.

Mjelde scored a late penalty to take it to a shootout (Action Images via Reuters)
Mjelde scored a late penalty to take it to a shootout (Action Images via Reuters)

Horan got in down the right and her cross was flicked home at the near post by Gilles, with Berger unable to keep her effort out.

That sent the game into extra-time, where the breathless pace of the match began to take its toll on the players.

Both sides looked tired and penalties seemed inevitable. In the end, they did take place - but in the most dramatic of circumstances.

Lyon thought they had won the game when Sara Dabritz struck with 10 minutes to go. A cross from the right came all the way to her and with one touch she fired past Berger to send the Lyon bench wild.

It looked like the holders were into the semi-finals, however in the final play of the game Chelsea hit back.

Becho brought down James in the box and referee Martincic pointed to the spot after going to the monitor. Mjelde slammed the ball into the top corner to send the game to penalties.

Mjelde was the hero to get Chelsea to the shootout, but then it was Berger’s moment to take centre stage with two huge saves.

A night she and Chelsea will never forget.