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Cristiane lifts PSG; France, Germany monopolize UWCL semis

Cristiane's late goal was only one across two legs for PSG against Barcelona. (Photo Copyright Patricia Giobetti for The Equalizer)

Cristiane’s late goal was only one across two legs for PSG against Barcelona. (Photo Copyright Patricia Giobetti for The Equalizer)

Two German sides will face each other as will two French clubs in the 2015-16 UEFA Champions League semifinals after the conclusion of the quarterfinal second legs on March 30. The two legs of the semifinals will take place on April 23/24 and April 30/May 1.

Two of the quarterfinal ties were close-run affairs while Lyon and Wolfsburg had few worries as they booked their last four spots. In Frankfurt, visiting Rosengard of Sweden evened their one-goal deficit from the first leg through Icelandic international midfielder Sara Bjork Gunnarsdottir’s goal in the 28th minute. With the series deadlocked at 1-1, in extra time, Natasha Andonova (Macedonia) of Rosengard and Simone Laudehr of Frankfurt both narrowly missed late chances to win the tie. All the penalty kicks were successful except Rosengard’s first, taken ironically by Gunnarsdottir. Reigning champions Frankfurt is still in the running for their fifth European club title.

Former WPS players Ali Riley, Anita Asante and Marta all started for Rosengard as did recent arrival Ella Masar (ex-Houston Dash) and Cameroon international Gaelle Enganamouit. Canadian international goalkeeper Erin McLeod (ex-Houston Dash) of Rosengard injured her knee in the first leg and may now miss the Olympics this summer; her fellow Canadian national team midfielder Sophie Schmidt (ex-Sky Blue FC in NWSL) played the entire match for the winners.

Paris St. Germain dominated play for long periods in both legs versus Spain’s Barcelona but a late goal from Brazilian international Cristiane (from Rosana’s cross) was the only goal of the series. PSG’s semifinal versus Lyon will be a reply of last year’s Round of 16 tie, in which PSG knocked Lyon out and ultimately advanced to the final, where they lost 2-1 to Frankfurt. Erika of Brazil (ex-FC Gold Pride in WPS), Cristiane (ex-Chicago Red Stars in WPS) and Swedish international Caroline Seger (ex-Philadelphia Independence and WNY Flash in WPS) all started for PSG. Brazil’s Rosana, who won a WPS Championship with Sky Blue FC in 2009, came on in the second half.

Wolfsburg of Germany matched their 3-0 victory from the first leg over Brescia of Italy in the return leg in Italy. Midfielder Zsanett Jakabfi of Hungary scored twice and Swiss international Ramona Bachmann (ex-Atlanta Beat in WPS) scored the third. Swiss international midfielder Lara Dickenmann (ex-Ohio State University) left the match at halftime. Wolfsburg is aiming for their third European crown, after titles in 2012-13 and 2013-14.

Olympique Lyon went into their road leg with Slavia Prague with a 9-1 advantage and finished the tie with the same aggregate score, as Slavia gained respect by holding the two-time Champions League winners (2010-11 and 2011-12) scoreless in their first appearance in the Champions League quarterfinals and only the second ever for their nation, after Sparta Prague’s appearance in 2005-06. Camille Abily (ex-L.A. Sol and F.C. Gold Pride in WPS) did not play after scoring two late goals in the home leg.

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