The UEFA Women's Champions League semi-final tie hangs in the balance after an absorbing first leg ended all-square in Paris.
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Barcelona and Paris exchanged first-half goals and several near-misses to leave their UEFA Women's Champions League semi-final tie locked at 1-1 heading into next Sunday's second leg.
Match in brief
Paris and Barcelona are hardly regulars at this stage of the competition, but the confidence of impressive quarter-final wins was evident as they both pushed from the off in a frenetic first half.
The visitors struck first on 13 minutes, as Caroline Graham Hansen made the most of the time and space she was inexplicably afforded to deliver a sumptuous cross onto the head of Jenni Hermoso at the far post. The 2020/21 UEFA Women's Champions League top scorer did the rest.
Paris soon restored parity, Alana Cook the unlikely beneficiary when Marie-Antoinette Katoto nodded a corner back across goal. Only a brilliant last-ditch clearance from Marta Torrejón denied the hosts a second moments later.
It proved the first of several chances at both ends, with Paris generally enjoying the balance of play but Barcelona carving out the better opportunities. None more so than Katoto, just before the break, who side-footed against the post when through one-on-one.
Key player: Christiane Endler (Paris)
The Chilean goalkeeper will think she should have done better to prevent Barcelona from taking the lead, but she more than made up for that with two fantastic reflex saves in quick succession in the first half, denying Alexia Putellas and then Hermoso to prevent Barça from winning this opening leg. She also kept out an Alexia free-kick after the break in another impressive display following her breathtaking added-time stop against Lyon in the quarter-finals.
Olivier Echouafni, Paris coach: "My feelings are mixed, but this was a top-level game, a semi-final. We know the quality of this team. In the end, 1-1 is a balanced scoreline, though we're a little frustrated with chances we missed – especially before half-time which would have enabled us to take a lead into the break."
Lluis Cortes, Barcelona coach: "I felt good about the game. We showed we can stand up to any team. There was no gulf between the sides. It's not easy against Paris, who are a big team. But we were strong in the game and have every hope of reaching the final."
- Paris are unbeaten in five meetings with Barcelona (W3 D2).
- Paris have not conceded more than one goal in any of their 24 matches this season.
- Barcelona ended a run of six defeats against French opposition in this competition.
- Hermoso has scored 34 goals in her last 31 appearances for club and country.
- Cook's goal was the 20-year-old defender's first in professional football.
Paris: Endler; Cook, Paredes, Dudek, Morroni; Geyoro, Formiga, Däbritz; Lawrence, Katoto, Baltimore
Barcelona: Paños; Torrejón, Pereira, María León, Ouahabi; Bonmati, Hamraoui, Alexia; Graham Hansen, Hermoso, Martens