Potter wowed by an ‘amazing’ night for Chelsea Women
Graham Potter was quick to offer his congratulations to Chelsea Women manager Emma Hayes after being in the crowd for her Blues side’s Women’s Champions League quarter-final victory over Lyon, but was left lost for words by the dramatic finale.
The contest between Chelsea Women and reigning European champions Lyon proved to be every bit as close and tense as many had predicted before kick-off, but few had seen coming the incredible drama that Graham Potter and the rest of those in attendance at Stamford Bridge were witness to on Thursday evening.
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The visitors cancelled out our lead from the first leg, secured with Guro Reiten’s early goal in France, taking the tie to extra time, where Lyon scored again to go ahead for the first time. However, the Blues found an equaliser right at the death through a Maren Mjelde penalty, allowing goalkeeper Ann-Katrin Berger to emerge as the hero with two saves as a shoot-out decided our victory and a place in the Women’s Champions League semi-finals for Emma Hayes and her players.
‘It was amazing,’ said Potter, who was part of a record crowd for a Chelsea Women’s Champions League home game to see all the drama first hand at the Bridge. ‘Obviously huge congratulations to Emma and everybody involved.
‘It just summed up the craziness of football, didn’t it? It’s why we love it. Obviously for Chelsea we love it, but for the opponent it was the opposite. It was a huge night for the girls, a huge night for Emma, so I’m delighted for them.’
It certainly wasn’t an evening that Potter or anyone else inside Stamford Bridge is likely to forget any time soon, such were the incredible scenes which unfolded. As Chelsea continued to push for a goal in added time at the end of the additional 30 minutes, Lauren James went down in the box, but the referee waved the penalty claims away.
However, VAR intervened, and after a second look at the incident on the pitchside monitor, the officials awarded the Blues a penalty. Such was the delay, that Mjelde’s resulting goal from the spot was officially timed as being scored in the 128th minute and proved to be the very last kick in open play.
Asked if he had every seen a conclusion to a match quite like that before, Potter’s response was emphatic.
‘Wow, no! But that’s football and it seems to be the Champions League throws up those type of moments as well. But I’m delighted that it went their way and it was a very entertaining evening.’
He will no doubt be excited about the chance to see more in Chelsea Women’s next Champions League tie, when they take on Barcelona in the semi-finals. The second leg will be played at Stamford Bridge again, on 22/23 April, and tickets for that game are on sale now with prices starting £15 for adults and £8 for juniors and seniors.