Chelsea edged out by Bayern in first leg of Women’s Champions League semi-final

Chelsea’s Melanie Leupolz (centre) celebrates scoring what could be a crucial away goal
Chelsea’s Melanie Leupolz (centre) celebrates scoring what could be a crucial away goal (PA Wire)
18:40pm, Sun 25 Apr 2021
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Chelsea were narrowly beaten by Bayern Munich in the first leg of their Women’s Champions League semi-final but secured a precious away goal.

Emma Hayes’ team are looking to reach the final of the competition for the first time and it is all to play for heading into the second leg on May 2 after the Germans prevailed 2-1.

Former Bayern player Melanie Leupolz cancelled out Sydney Lohmann’s early opener, but Hanna Glas scored what proved to be the winner in the 56th minute.

Chelsea are involved in an almighty scrap with Manchester City for the Women’s Super League title and the sides played out an energy-sapping 2-2 draw in midweek.

Chelsea had to quickly turn their thoughts to Europe but they were behind after only 12 minutes following a horror moment for goalkeeper Ann-Katrin Berger.

The German allowed Glas’ cross to slip through her fingers, giving Lohmann the simplest of opportunities to head into an empty net.

Chelsea needed a quick response and they got it with a moment of fortune in the 23rd minute. Guro Reiten crossed the ball in and Leupolz was in the right place as a defensive header hit her, looped up and landed in the net.

Sydney Lohmann celebrates scoring the opener for Bayern (PA Wire)

It was much better from the English side now and Pernille Harder had a good chance to put Chelsea ahead shortly after but could only shoot high and wide.

In the 29th minute, Sam Kerr found herself bearing down on the Bayern goal after a good ball from Sophie Ingle, but the forward dallied too long before shooting, allowing Marina Hegering to slide in with a superb tackle.

Chelsea had another good chance just after half-time when Reiten’s free-kick found Kerr, who knocked the ball back into the centre for Harder, but the Dane could only poke straight at Laura Benkarth in the Bayern goal.

The Germans took the lead again 11 minutes after the break, with the impressive Glas picking up the ball outside the box and curling it beyond Berger.

Bayern try in vain to clear the ball as Chelsea equalise (PA Wire)

The same player might have added another in the 69th minute but she was denied by Berger, and four minutes later Chelsea came agonisingly close to an equaliser.

Ji So-yun took aim from outside the box with a brilliant effort that beat Benkarth but struck the underside of the bar. Beth England tried to head in the rebound but was unable to get sufficient power and Bayern were able to clear.

That proved to the last real chance for Chelsea as they were forced to accept defeat.

The other semi-final stands at 1-1 between Paris St German and Barcelona after a stalemate in Paris. Both goals came early on, with Jenni Hermoso heading in for Barcelona before Alana Cook levelled for PSG.

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