Chelsea and Lyon progress into this year’s Women’s Champions League semifinals

Chelsea and Lyon became the first two teams to progress into the semifinals of this year’s Women’s Champions League, after quarterfinal wins on Wednesday.

Lyon thrashed Benfica 4-1 in its second-leg, beating the Portuguese side 6-2 on aggregate. Chelsea, meanwhile, was held to a 1-1 draw at Stamford Bridge against Ajax but reached the semifinals on aggregate after winning 3-0 in the first leg.

With her team chasing the quadruple this season, and with the Women’s League Cup final against Arsenal on Sunday, Chelsea manager Emma Hayes opted to use the depth in her squad for the second-leg tie in London.

With key players missing from the starting lineup, Chelsea struggled to find its usual rhythm but did take the first-half lead courtesy of striker Mayra Ramírez.

The Blues were pegged back in the second-half, though, after Chasity Grant squeezed a shot in from close range. In truth, both sides had chances to win the game, but Chelsea’s healthy lead from the first-leg was more than enough to see it through to the next round.

“We’re through to the semifinal and I think we should celebrate that,” Blues manager Hayes said.

“We want to win, we love winning […] all we want is to win. We are in the semifinal and that’s where we want to be.”

Mayra Ramírez scored for Chelsea as it eased into the last four of this year's Women's Champions League. - Glyn Kirk/AFP/Getty Images
Mayra Ramírez scored for Chelsea as it eased into the last four of this year's Women's Champions League. - Glyn Kirk/AFP/Getty Images

Elsewhere, Lyon produced another dominant performance to dispatch Benfica with ease and reach the semifinals of the competition for the 13th time.

Already 2-1 up from the first leg, the eight-time champion did not drop its intensity and dominated the first half on Wednesday, although it failed to convert its chances.

French forward Delphine Cascarino did finally open the scoring for Lyon but Benfica equalized before half-time to keep its faint hopes alive.

Cascarino then re-established Lyon’s lead after the break before two late goals from Kadidiatou Diani sealed an emphatic victory.

“There are a lot of reasons for satisfaction. We’re proud of the fans, thank you to them, and the players,” Lyon coach Sonia Bompastor said after the match.

“The performance after half-time was great, but we needed to be more clinical during the first half. The common thread was making the right choices; had we done that throughout, we could have put Benfica in more difficulty.

“Nothing is given to us, so we must always be vigilant.”

Lyon will face either Swedish side Häcken or Paris Saint-Germain in the semifinals, while Chelsea will play the winner of Barcelona and SK Brann.

The remaining two quarterfinals will take place later on Thursday.

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