Chelsea are through to the Women’s Champions League semi-finals following a monumental victory over holders Lyon at Stamford Bridge.
In a dramatic penalty shootout, Chelsea goalkeeper Ann-Katrin Berger made two stunning saves to deny Lindsey Horan and Wendie Renard and spark wild celebrations in London.
Following a Video Assistant Referee (VAR) review, referee Ivana Martincic deemed Lauren James had been fouled by Vicki Becho and Maren Mjelde stepped up under pressure to fire home the spot-kick and set up a shootout climax.
Lyon’s players and staff were outraged, while the home fans were on their feet as Chelsea composed themselves to deliver the success they craved and seal a last-four meeting with Barcelona.
Berger sprinted to the corner flag in celebration after she pushed away Horan’s sudden-death penalty and her team-mate ran across to join her.
This will go down as one of the biggest victories in Chelsea’s history as they join English rivals Arsenal in the semi-finals.
Mouthwatering tie delivers in London
Eight-time champions Lyon came to London trailing 1-0 after the first leg and forced extra time when Vanessa Gilles flicked a 77th-minute corner beyond Berger.
Chelsea were beginning to tire as the game edged towards the extra period and Lyon took the lead through substitute Sara Dabritz when she drove a finish into the far corner after 110 minutes.
But Mjelde’s controversial penalty in the final seconds breathed life into Emma Hayes’ side and the Norwegian then stepped up first to convert in the shootout.
James, who had earned the extra-time spot kick, was denied by Lyon goalkeeper Christiane Endler after Berger had saved Renard’s effort.
But Chelsea’s German keeper had the final say when she dived to her right to block Horan’s strike.
Lyon failed to progress from just their second quarter-final in 14 appearances, while Chelsea’s victory ensured two English clubs in the last four for the first time in five years.
Historic victory sets up Barcelona showdown
Having come away from France with a memorable win, Chelsea were in a strong position going into the second leg, but knew they needed a gladiatorial performance.
Lyon, who have dominated European football for the last decade, came with serious intention and should have scored within a matter of minutes.
Delphine Cascarino forced a save from Berger, before Chelsea captain Magdalena Eriksson’s poor clearance set-up Signe Bruun, but the Lyon striker sliced it over the bar.
The hosts eventually settled and Sam Kerr had a glorious opportunity when she was slid in one-on-one with Endler, but the goalkeeper came out on top.
It felt inevitable more chances would follow and they both fell Lyon’s way – Gilles then Dabritz silencing a nervy Stamford Bridge crowd.
The holders, who were able to bring on star striker Ada Hegerberg at half-time, still looked vulnerable, however, and as James dribbled into the box in injury time at the end, supporters were on their feet in anticipation.
Chelsea will now need to produce another giant-killing in the next round as Barcelona, who beat them in the 2021 final, await. Arsenal take on two-time champions Wolfsburg, with the prospect of an all-English final.