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Exhausted Hayes relieved to see injury-hit Chelsea advance
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Robert O'Connor
Press Association
Emma Hayes was a relieved manager after a dramatic penalty shootout
Emma Hayes was a relieved manager after a dramatic penalty shootout

Emma Hayes was "relieved and exhausted" after Chelsea advanced to the Women's Champions League semi-finals.

With a 1-0 lead from the first leg to defend, the Blues were forced into extra-time when Vanessa Gilles levelled matters on aggregate.

Despite being roared on by a bumper Stamford Bridge crowd, the hosts appeared destined for the exit when sub Sara Dabritz made it 2-0 on the night in the 110th minute. 

But they were rescued by Maren Mjelde's spot-kick after Lauren James was tripped inside the box, with a VAR check leaving the tie in limbo for almost five minutes.

And keeper Ann-Katrin Berger made herself the hero with saves from Wendie Renard and Lindsey Horan to cap an incredible fightback as Chelsea progessed 4-3 on penalties — much to the relief of Hayes.

The Blues boss said: "We've never won a shootout so can you imagine what was going on in my mind?

"I was forced into every substitution. They were all injuries. I didn't see a goal in us.

"When I saw Lyon's subs coming on, world-class talent... I think we managed the best we could in the circumstances. 

"It was the most character-building performance, even if it was the ugliest. 

"I felt we went away from home and performed well last week but I knew Lyon would come for us. I'm just relieved it's over and we're through. 

"For Maren to do what she did with the last kick of the game. She's a Chelsea legend.

"I knew if we got to that moment the momentum would turn. I'm relieved and exhausted."

Lyon coach Sonia Bompastor felt referee Ivana Martincic's decision to award the last-gasp penalty was inevitable once she had been instructed to review the incident. 

She said: "Disappointment is my feeling. Frustration, injustice as well. 

"The referee made the right decision live. Then she was obliged to go and look. 

"We know from experience that once they’ve been called over, it's hard from them to go against what they originally thought."

Chelsea will face old foes Barcelona in the semis.



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