Women’s Champions League and Super League: weekend talking points

<span>Khadija Shaw, Beth Mead, Sara Holmgaard and Karen Holmgaard.</span><span>Composite: Getty, Shutterstock</span>
Khadija Shaw, Beth Mead, Sara Holmgaard and Karen Holmgaard.Composite: Getty, Shutterstock

Can Chelsea be perfect again?

“Our team did a lot to limit chances as a whole. You can only do that together and not individually. The team as a whole did that job well today. Everything has to be perfect for you to get close to winning a game of football [against Barcelona],” said Emma Hayes after Chelsea’s 1-0 win over in the first leg of their Women’s Champions League semi-final and that, really, was the crux of their success. They defended as a team, attacked as a team, held their shape collectively and achieved perfection when executing the gameplan. Can they do it again in the second leg at Stamford Bridge? It will be difficult to make lightening strike twice, but the belief will be there. Hayes wants to see a sellout crowd at Stamford Bridge because her players “deserve to play in front of a full house to give ourselves the best possible chance.” There is certainly no greater opportunity for a sellout crowd than history beckoning. Suzanne Wrack

Lyon show champion mentality

Lyon proved why they are eight-time Women’s Champions League winners with a remarkable comeback against Paris Saint-Germain in their semi-final. Sonia Bompastor’s team looked down and out having conceded two Marie-Antoinette Katoto goals but, late on, showed their monster mentality with three goals in six minutes to turn the game and perhaps the tie on its head. Kadidiatou Diani’s goal against her former club gave Lyon hope at 2-1 but it was Melchie Dumornay’s equaliser five minutes later that changed the momentum of the game. Lyon captain Wendie Renard laid the ball off to Dumornay on the edge of the area for the midfielder to feint past Sakina Karchaoui and smash a shot into the top corner. From there Lyon smelled blood and, on 86 minutes, won the game with a beautifully taken goal from Amel Majri to make it 3-2. Lyon have the advantage but if the first leg was anything to go by, it’s far from over. Xaymaca Awoyungbo

City keep heat on at the top

Manchester City were at their very best against West Ham – fluid, ruthless and rampant – and, in winning 5-0 at the Joie Stadium, delivered a statement of intent in regards to the WSL title race. “It’s a good scoreline for us,” said manager Gareth Taylor. “I thought we started the game tremendously well. It gave us a good platform to speak at half-time about what we wanted to achieve in the second half.” The result means City lead Chelsea by three points at the top of the table. However, they have played a game more than the reigning champions. This title race is going down to the wire. Emily Keogh

Le Tissier provides late impact for United

When Manchester United manager Marc Skinner introduced Rachel Williams from the bench against Tottenham there was an air of expectation. Spurs were leading 2-1 at the time after Bethany England and Jessica Naz had cancelled out Melvine Malard’s opener and Williams is renowned for being an impact substitute. So when United won a late corner it had all the makings of a Williams special and it almost was – the 36-year-old hitting the bar with a header. No matter for United as Maya Le Tissier stepped forward to be the hero instead, the defender reacting first to head in an equaliser deep into stoppage time. Le Tissier’s goal was the sixth United have scored after the 90-minute mark this season, something Spurs should be wary of ahead of the sides meeting in next month’s FA Cup final. Sarah Rendell

Arsenal clinch WCL spot

Arsenal are heading back to Europe, having secured the third and final Champions League spot with three games to spare. Their 3-0 victory over Leicester ensured Jonas Eidevall’s side will at least equal last year’s Women’s Super League campaign. It was a dominant attacking performance in their final game of the season at the Emirates, delighting the 42,820 spectators in attendance. A brace from Beth Mead and goal from Alessia Russo were not the only things the hosts had to celebrate. Frida Maanum made a welcome return to the field after collapsing during last month’s Continental Cup final, while Vivianne Miedema came on as a second-half substitute having overcome a setback in her recovery from serious injury. Meanwhile, full-back Laura Wienroither stepped on to the Emirates turf briefly for the first time following her return from an ACL injury. Sophie Downey

Höbinger shows her promise

Summer signing Marie Höbinger has proven to be one of Liverpool’s most important players of the season and she scored the only goal in their 1-0 victory over Bristol City at Ashton Gate. The 22-year-old struck in the 13th minute and nearly doubled her tally after a long-range strike forced a save from Shae Yanez. Höbinger’s goal was her fifth of the WSL campaign, putting her level with Sophie Roman Haug as Liverpool’s top scorer. “As I’ve said before, she reminds me of Fara Williams, can play off right foot and left foot,” said manager Matt Beard. “You’ve got to remember she’s young, it’s her first season in England – it’s a tough league – and she has been great. And she’s only going to get better.” EK

Holmgaard twins prove impressive double act

Brian Sørensen has rarely been able to play Karen and Sara Holmgaard on the same pitch this season. Injury has hit one or the other, or both, for large portions of the campaign. On Friday, however, Everton fans were treated to the magic the identical twins can produce in each other’s company against Brighton. Second-half substitute Karen was on the field for just five minutes before linking up almost telepathically with her sister to put the Toffees ahead. Having sent the ball out to Sara, the midfielder carried on her run to the far post knowing exactly where the cross was coming and duly headed home. Everton’s 2-1 victory at the Amex Stadium sent them to ninth. It was the perfect celebration for Sørensen, who signed a new two-year contract earlier in the week. SD