Football

UEFA Women's Champions League: Favorites Chelsea, Lyon Enter Semi-Finals

Chelsea advanced to the UEFA Women's Champions League 2023-24 semi-finals with a 4-1 aggregate (3-0, 1-1) win against Ajax while Lyon beat Benfica 6-2 over two legs (2-1, 4-1)

AP
Chelsea's Mayra Ramirez, center, scores a goal against Ajax during their UEFA Women's Champions League 2023-24 quarter-final second leg match at Stamford Bridge Stadium in London on March 27, 2024. Photo: AP
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Emma Hayes' hopes of going out on the ultimate high at Chelsea moved a step closer on Wednesday as the London club reached the Women's Champions League semifinals after a 1-1 draw with Ajax. Chelsea advanced 4-1 on aggregate after winning the first leg in Amsterdam 3-0. (More Football News)

Hayes takes over the U.S. women's national team at the end of the season, when she will lead its bid to win Olympic gold in Paris. Before that, she is aiming to win a quadruple of trophies with Chelsea — including the Champions League for the first time.

The Women's Super League champion had effectively secured its place in the next round after a dominant performance in the first leg of the quarterfinals at Ajax. And it extended its overall advantage to 4-0 on aggregate after Mayra Ramirez's goal in the 33rd minute at Stamford Bridge.

Chasity Grant scored in the 65th to give Ajax some consolation and a 1-1 draw on the night. While Chelsea is searching for its first Women's Champions League trophy, Lyon is hunting a record-extending ninth.

The French champion advanced to the semifinals for a record 13th time after a 4-1 win over Benfica. Delphine Cascarino and Kadidiatou Diani scored two goals each as record eight-time champion Lyon won 6-2 on aggregate at Groupama Stadium after a 2-1 first leg win in Portugal.

Cascarino's goal in the first leg had set up Lyon's comeback win after trailing 1-0 at halftime of that match. And she tightened the French champions' control of the tie when she opened the scoring in the 43rd of the second leg with a long-range chip to put Lyon ahead on the night.

Marie-Yasmine Alidou evened the score two minutes later, but Cascarino restored the home team's lead with a powerful effort from distance in the 51st.

Diani put Lyon 3-1 ahead in the first minute of stoppage time and scored her second five minutes later. Lyon was playing in the quarterfinals for a record-equaling 15th time, while Benfica became the first Portuguese team to advance to this stage.

Lyon last won the trophy in 2022 and will play either Häcken or Paris Saint-Germain in the semifinals. Chelsea faces either defending champion Barcelona or Brann. PSG and Barcelona both won their quarterfinal first-leg matches 2-1 and will host their respective second-leg games Thursday.

The home-and-away semifinals will be played on April 20-21 and 27-28.

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