For Paris Saint-Germain their passage to the UEFA Women’s Champions League hasn’t always been the easiest but able to show their best form in Europe there was no team that could stop them once they got going.
Mixed first-round fortunes
A dominant performance in Norway saw Paris take an early lead before bafflingly shipping three second-half goals, a 3-1 deficit carried home that could have easily had the falling at the first hurdle. From then on there was no looking back for the Parisiens, Verónica Boquete’s fourth minute penalty at the Stade Charléty enough to have Lillestrøm off of the pace and the hosts on the offensive. With Cristiane running riot, Paris soon overcame the deficit, Lill-Yvonne Karlsrud beaten three times by the Brazilian as the Norwegian champions made a first-round exit.
The French side gifted with an easier tie in the next round, all they had to do was navigate an exhausting trip to BIIK Kazygurt’s Shymkent home. Well-rested, the Parisiens had no trouble showing their quality in Kazakhstan and carried a strong 3-0 advantage home with them where another four goals saw them through to the last eight with ease.
Bit between the teeth
Down to the last eight, there task presented to any team was only set to get increasingly harder and a dominant performance in Munich left PSG frustrated, the Bavarians able to repel their best efforts, Tinja-Riikka Korpela in exceptional form. A world away from the Grünwalder, Paris could turn the flare on at home, determined not to be kept out at the Parc des Princes, their opposition off of the pace for the second-leg. Marie-Laure Delie’s opener less than five minutes in set the tone of the game as the hosts ran riot once again but this time had plenty to show for their endeavours, their passage to the semi-finals looking almost too easy at points.
A team possessed when it came to the Champions League, PSG’s only problem was falling behind in the first-leg – no matter how they performed – but there was to be no slip ups from the Parisiens in the semi-finals. A trip to Catalonia enough to leave most in the competition nervous, the Spanish side’s defensive abilities in the tournament bar none but it didn’t take long for a rampant PSG side to tear through a usually reliable back-line. Three goals to the good inside of an hour at the Mini Estadi, the French side cruised through the remainder of the game, Bárbara Latorre’s late consolation of little worry as the Parisiens began to ready the Parc des Princes for their return leg.
Less assured at home than may be expected, Barca’s defence roared into life once more to keep the hosts out throughout the first-half, Sandra Paños helpless to stop Sabrina Delannoy’s penalty ten minutes after the restart, the tie over. Miriam Diéguez’ own goal just after the hour made sure there was no coming back for the Catalans, PSG’s spot in Cardiff booked with thirty minutes of the tie still left.