Advantage Lyon as six-minute blitz leaves PSG on edge of Champions League elimination

French football was changed in 2011 when QSI invested their wealth into Paris Saint-Germain making them the richest club in the country and shifting the balance of power in their favour, and while in the men’s game, this has seen the club become the dominant force, they have more work yet to do in the women’s game if they want to take Olympique Lyonnais’s crown. 

That crown looked a bit less stable yesterday evening when PSG visited the Groupama Stadium for their Champions League semi-final against their eternal rivals. Les Parisiennes scored either side of halftime to put the team into a commanding lead, and with ten minutes remaining of the game it appeared as if they had managed to land a monumental blow on Lyon.

The star of the evening looked as if it would be Marie-Antoinette Katoto, the PSG striker was lively throughout the game, providing an outlet for a team that spent the evening patient and disciplined as they waited for their opportunity to touch the ball. The warning signs were there for Lyon as Katoto burst onto a lofted through-ball but her touch was heavy and she was falling as she tried to control the ball. 

Just before halftime that threat turned into action, Sandy Baltimore hooked a ball through a well-defended box. Christiane Endler could do enough to push the ball away, Katoto was the quickest to react and opened the scoring for the visitors. Halftime did little to cool Katoto down and her reactions were once again the difference maker as she lurked around the defensive line before pouncing on Tabitha Chawinga’s mishit shot and doubling PSG’s lead. 

Kadidiatou Diani begins the PSG collapse 

Lyon had knocked on the door throughout the entire evening. They wracked up chances with very little threat, and as the evening wore on desperation and nervousness began to set into a stadium not used to PSG beating them, especially in a competition that has become defined by ferocious performances from Les Fenottes. The eight-time Champions League winners have been in difficult scenarios before and that experience was soon called into action. 

Kadidiatou Diani gave the hosts a lifeline in the 80th minute when she finished off a passing move through the PSG defence. Jackie Groenen backed off Diani just enough to allow the French international the space to pick her shot. Melchie Dumornay levelled the scores a few minutes later when a freekick found the captain Wendie Renard. The defender tried to find space to force a shot but was crowded out shifting the ball wide to Dumornay. The midfielder skipped past the substitute Thiniba Samoura to thunder home the second for Lyon. 

The comeback was complete moments later in the 86th minute when the substitute Amel Majri broke Parisiennes’ hearts. Lyon pushed for the winning goal with an impressive self-belief that seemed to suggest that they always knew they were going to win this game, and as PSG’s defence collapsed to the late blitz, self-belief took on the shape of fate. The ball seemed stuck The ball seemed stuck to the Lyon team and as it wormed its way to Majri it felt predetermined that her shot would find the back of the net.

Within six minutes PSG had seen their dreams of European success dented, and left ruing a defensive collapse that speaks of the psychological trauma this side has when it comes to taking on the leading force in French football. For Lyon, it was simply prosaic, this remains their competition and the advantage is firmly rooted in their favour ahead of next weekend’s decider at the Parc des Princes. 

GFFN | Nick Hartland

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