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Lyon 0-1 Chelsea: Reiten goal leaves holders in peril

Guro Reiten's first-half strike gave Chelsea victory in their UEFA Women's Champions League quarter-final opener at Lyon.

Highlights: Lyon 0-1 Chelsea

Lyon's grip on the UEFA Women's Champions League is under threat after Guro Reiten's goal gave Chelsea a 1-0 quarter-final first-leg win at OL Stadium.

Key moments

28' Reiten curls Chelsea in front
33' James hits the post
44' Bright off injured
60' Cascarino strikes the woodwork

The holders had more than their share of chances, but brilliant work from Erin Cuthbert set up Reiten for an excellent finish that leaves Lyon with plenty of work to do when they visit Stamford Bridge next Thursday.

Match in brief: Lyon tamed

Chelsea savour their winning goal
Chelsea savour their winning goalChelsea FC via Getty Images

Lyon, aiming to repeat their 2018/19 semi-final success against Chelsea, began in determined fashion, pinning the visitors back but without creating a clear goalscoring chance. And the holders were behind shortly before the half-hour when Cuthbert, just back from injury, dispossessed Ellie Carpenter and nutmegged Damaris Egurrola before playing an angled ball in for Reiten to sweep in a curling shot.

Five minutes later, Lauren James hit the post after fashioning a chance herself, but Lyon started to push again, with Sara Däbritz arrowing a shot just wide. Then, after key Chelsea defender Millie Bright (partnering former Lyon player Kadeisha Buchanan) limped off, Lindsey Horan narrowly failed to connect in a promising position.

Lyon looked to refresh their attack with Vicki Becho, but Chelsea looked good on the counter, Cuthbert forcing Christiane Endler to save. On the hour, Lyon nearly equalised when Becho found Delphine Cascarino, who hit the post, and Becho's fellow substitute Daniëlle van de Donk also went close, but there was no way through the Chelsea rearguard.

As it happened: Lyon 0-1 Chelsea
Guro Reiten with her Player of the Match award
Guro Reiten with her Player of the Match awardUEFA via Getty Images

Visa Player of the Match: Guro Reiten (Chelsea)

"It wasn’t easy to pick. Reiten scored the decisive goal, created chances and worked hard defensively. She also handled different positions and was very important for Chelsea in this game."
UEFA Technical Observer panel

Ian Holyman, Lyon reporter

The hosts knew this was going to be a tough game, and so it proved. With Chelsea's rearguard resolute, OL needed to – but couldn't – take the few concrete chances they created, notably in the first half when Eugénie Le Sommer might have had a couple of goals. There were positives, particularly the creative quality of Dzsenifer Marozsán and Däbritz, but the reigning champions were uncharacteristically toothless. They need to rediscover a cutting edge ahead of next week's second leg in London.

Guro Reiten curls in her winner
Guro Reiten curls in her winnerUEFA via Getty Images

Lynsey Hooper, Chelsea reporter

Chelsea are halfway there. They importantly take a one-goal lead into the second leg at Stamford Bridge. They were at their best tonight when attacking in numbers and will need more of that next Thursday, especially the quality of Reiten and James, who were difference-makers tonight. Lyon had enough threat to suggest they're capable of turning this tie around. It should make for a thrilling conclusion to this quarter-final.


Sonia Bompastor, Lyon coach: "We're disappointed and frustrated. I think we started well in the first 30 minutes and caused them problems. But you have to be clinical at this level. Chelsea defend well and were able to hurt us on the counterattack.

"Our philosophy is to always play to win. We have to score in the second leg. We have to keep all our ambition and confidence. We have the qualities to win at Chelsea. We now have to recover, lift our heads up, and go there with confidence and ambition."

Sonia Bompastor once played under Emma Hayes when the Chelsea manager wasa assistant coach at Washington Freedom
Sonia Bompastor once played under Emma Hayes when the Chelsea manager wasa assistant coach at Washington FreedomUEFA via Getty Images

Emma Hayes, Chelsea manager: "I think it was a good game. We showed some of the grit that we have been lacking a little. We were really compact and defended well. But we're only halfway there.

"We had one day's prep. I thought the players executed the defensive game plan. On the ball, we have to be a little bit better, but that's something we'll work on before the game at Stamford Bridge. A 1-0 win at the home of the reigning champions to take into the second leg, I can't ask for any more."

Vanessa Gilles, Lyon defender: "We had a plan coming into the game: we knew they'd be strong and efficient on the counterattack. We created chances but we just weren't as efficient as they were.

"When you're up against a big team like Chelsea, you get fewer chances than usual. And when they come, you have to take them. So, heading to Chelsea, that's a good kind of pressure on us to perform."

Guro Reiten, Chelsea goalscorer and Visa Player of the Match: "I felt that I didn't have much time to line up the shot. That's why I struck it so well, actually. I don't usually shoot with my right foot; the girls even told me they'd never seen me shoot with my right. It was a great feeling and we're really happy to get the win."

Kerr: 'A tough place to come'

Sam Kerr, Chelsea forward: "This is a tough place to come; they're an amazing team. A win on the road to start things off is really nice. You can't look at the chances you miss, just the ones you take, and we just have to get better for next week.

"It's a different game when you play at home, so we're happy with the 1-0 result. We always try to get better in every game we play. We need to play how we played today and add a little more next week."

Key stats

  • Lyon lost for the first time when staging the opening leg of a European tie at home, having won the last 15 and drawn the previous three.
  • This is Lyon's second home loss to a London side in this season's competition after the 5-1 defeat by Arsenal on Matchday 1.
  • Carpenter played her first Champions League game since injury in the final last May against Barcelona.
  • All-time competition top scorer Ada Hegerberg was on the Lyon bench for the first time since being injured in September but did not get any playing time.
  • Wendie Renard has now appeared in a record 14th separate quarter-final.
  • Reiten got her first Champions League goal of the season, having racked up a joint-high five assists in the group stage.
  • Hayes' side have gone on to win all ten two-legged UEFA Women's Champions League ties when emerging victorious in the first leg.
  • Chelsea have equalled their best unbeaten start to a European season of seven goals.


Lyon: Endler; Carpenter, Gilles, Renard, Morroni (Bacha 55); Horan, Egurrola, Marozsán (Van de Donk 55); Cascarino (Malard 69), Le Sommer (Becho 46), Däbritz (Majri 69)

Chelsea: Berger; Périsset (Mjelde 85), Buchanan, Bright (Eriksson 44), Carter; Leupolz, Ingle; James (Rytting Kaneryd 85), Cuthbert (Charles 71), Reiten; Kerr

What's next?

The second leg will be played at Stamford Bridge on Thursday 30 March. The winners will face Roma or Barcelona in the semi-finals on 22/23 and 29/30 April.