@UWCL

MATCH INFO: Paris Saint-Germain vs Barcelona (Leg 1 of 2), Stade Municipal Georges Lefèvre, Saint-Germain-en-Laye, France

Kickoff: April 25th, 2021, at 9:00 a.m. EST

Paris Saint-Germain will host Barcelona for the first leg of the UEFA Women’s Champions League semi-final. Here’s how both teams got here.

PSG were drawn against Olympique Lyonnais in the quarter finals, who are widely considered the best team in the world. They’ve won seven Champions League titles and the last five in a row, becoming the team to beat in the competition. 

In the first leg, Lyon did what they do best: they won. A single penalty from Wendie Renard gave them the advantage going into the second leg, which looked to be headed in a similar direction after Catarina Macario scored in the 4th minute to give Lyon a two-goal aggregate advantage. 

However, PSG were able to answer back a mere 20 minutes later, with a fantastic goal from midfielder  Grace Geyoro, her first of the 202/21 Champions League campaign. 

After halftime, PSG continued to push in an effort to find a goal that would put them through to the next round on away goals. Lyon were quite sloppy in possession with misplaced passes, and it seemed like it’d only be a matter of time before PSG scored another. The needed goal came in the 61st minute, with Renard scoring an own goal in an attempt to cut off PSG’s Kadidiatou Diani’s cross into the box.

The goal gave Paris Saint-Germain the 2-1 lead, and they held on until the final whistle. With the final score being 2-2 on aggregate, the Parisians advanced on away goals to the semi-finals, ending Lyon’s five-year streak as European champions.

PSG’s opponents in the semi-finals, Barcelona, knocked out English powerhouse Manchester City with a final score of 4-2 on aggregate, in what may have been the biggest surprise of the quarter finals. 

Barcelona comfortably beat Man City 3-0 in the first leg, with the first goal coming off a smart finish from Asisat Oshoala in the 35th minute. Going into half-time at 1-0, the match was far from over, but City struggled to contain Oshoala, and the striker won a penalty early in the second half that teammate Mariona Caldentey converted. 

Jennifer Hermoso scored Barca’s third after a shot hit the post, giving Man City the daunting task of needing to score at least four goals in the second leg in Manchester.

Things started off well for City in the second leg, with Janine Beckie scoring within the first twenty minutes. 

However, Oshoala once again continuously caused the home-side problems. She scored in the 59th minute, easing any pressure Barca was facing. 

Sam Mewis scored a penalty about ten minutes later, but of course, it wasn’t enough for the English side to qualify.

Both Paris Saint-Germain and Barcelona faced tough opponents in the quarters, and both teams showed exactly why they deserve to be in the competition. 

Each club has made it to the final of the UWCL before, but have failed to get their hands on the coveted trophy. Now they have a chance to make the leap.

For PSG, they’ve already dispatched their domestic rivals. But losing in the semis would sour that achievement. For Barcelona, meanwhile, now is their chance to prove that they belong in the discussion of Europe’s best club. Fireworks should be expected.