Oh la la! FCB Women down PSG in first leg
The FC Bayern Women's dream of a place in the Champions League semi-finals is alive and kicking after a potentially record 7,300 crowd at the Grünwalder Stadion saw the home team battle to a 1-0 victory over Paris Saint-Germain in Thursday evening's last eight first leg. The decisive return takes place just six days from now on 29 March at Parc des Princes in Paris.
Watched by FCB president Uli Hoeneß, men's head coach Carlo Ancelotti, honorary vice-president Dr. Fritz Scherer and Germany's coach of the year Julian Nagelsmann of TSG Hoffenheim, Bayern initially matched the French favourites thanks to keeper Tinja-Riikka Korpela, before the Bavarians' courageous efforts were rewarded with Vivianne Miedema's 72nd-minute game-winning strike.
FCB boss Thomas Wörle was forced to field a weakened team due to injuries and international call-ups, although fit-again Verena Faisst returned to the starting line-up with Viktoria Schnaderbeck and Sarah Romert taking seats on the bench after long lay-offs.
Former Munich star Verónica Boquete posed an early threat for PSG but was denied on six minutes by Korpela with a fine reaction save. The FCB keeper turned a Shirley Cruz shot onto the bar two minutes later, Marie-Laure Delie spooning the rebound over the bar.
Following the early scare Bayern increasingly stifled the quick and skilful visitors and created half-chances of their own, with Miedema crowded out in the box on 12 minuites and Nicole Rolser coming up inches short six minutes later.
A Delie shot aside, the powerful visitors failed to trouble the home rearguard until Boquete came close from 20 yards on the stroke of half-time. The good-sized crowd rose to applaud the battling home team as the players went off at half-time with the score goalless.
Precious match-winning goal
Korpela excelled again after the restart with a routine stop from Grace Geyoro and a superb point-blank reaction save from Cruz. The Finnish netminder later comfortably dealt with Delie's 70th-minute header.
PSG had upped the pressure, and although Melanie Behringer threatened on the break after 62 minutes, Wörle's team were penned back in their own final third for long spells. But on 72 minutes it was Bayern who made the breakthrough when Sara Däbritz controlled a long ball on the edge of the Paris box and set up Miedema to drive home from 16 yards off the inside of the post.
The favourites threw everything into attack as they sought to salvage a draw in the closing stages but veteran Brazil star Cristiane fired past the post with 15 minutes remaining, put a header narrowly wide six minutes later, and then saw her last-minute headed effort saved by the outstanding Korpela as the women from Munich held on to post a famous victory.
FC Bayern Women - Paris Saint-Germain 1-0 (H-T: 0-0)
Korpela - Maier, Abbé, Wenninger, Lewandowski, Faisst (Evans 67) - Baunach (Lotzen 90), Behringer, Däbritz - Miedema, Rolser (Bürki 86)
Zinsberger, Romert, Schnaderbeck, Slipcevic
Kiedrzynek - Lawrence, Georges, Delannoy, Paredes, Perisset - Geyoro - Boquete (Diallo 60), Cruz - Cristiane, Delie
Geurts, Palacin, Lahmari, Morroni, Cissoko, Formiga
Pernilla Larsson (Sweden)
1-0 Miedema (72)
Behringer, Lotzen / Geyoro, Cruz, Paredes