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Hopes of an English club playing in this season's UEFA Women's Champions League Final in Kiev were brought to an end on Sunday after Manchester City and Chelsea were knocked out in the semi finals, by the same teams which eliminated them last season.
Manchester City were first in action as they played away to holders Olympique Lyonnais, the teams having battled out a goalless draw seven days earlier.
Lyon, who have won the competition a record four times, made a fast start to the game and inflicted a lot of early pressure, Amandine Henry going close with a firm strike which was just wide. Their efforts were rewarded on 17 minutes as Amel Majri floated a cross into the area and former City defender Lucy Bronze gave Karen Bardsley no chance with a sweetly struck volley.
Melissa Lawley did send a shot wide at the other end but Lyon were largely dominating matters and almost increased their lead when Henry hit the post with a deflected shot. Bronze this time volleyed over and Jennifer Beattie did well to deny Eugenie Le Sommer with a crucial block as her team battled to keep themselves in the game.
After the break, Lyon continued to press with Bardsley making a good save from a long range effort by Ada Hegerberg, who then passed up a great chance when she blazed wildly over from a lay off by Le Sommer.
Although a goal would have put City back in charge of the tie, they never really had an opportunity and came closest when a cross-cum-shot by Claire Emslie was well dealt with by Sarah Bouhaddi.
Manchester City therefore suffered the disappointment and frustration of losing a second semi final in successive years, whilst Lyon go through to a seventh Final. Goalscorer Lucy Bronze is also set to become the first British player to play in a Final since Arsenal's triumph in 2007, and the first to play for an overseas team (Jessica Fishlock appeared for Frankfurt during their successful 2014-15 campaign but did not play in the Final).
This left Chelsea as the last remaining WSL team but they had a mountainous task on their hands after losing the first leg 3-1 at home to VfL Wolfsburg. Needing to score at least three times to stand any chance of going through, Emma Hayes picked an attacking line up but it Wolfsburg who threatened early on with Pernille Harder stroking a shot just wide and Hedvig Lindahl doing well to save from Caroline Hansen.
Despite much attacking intent, Chelsea were struggling to break through a solid Wolfsburg defence and the German side looked to likelier to score. However, Chelsea's chance came on the hour with Fran Kirby latching onto Katie Chapman's pass and cutting inside, but the in-form striker's shot was straight at Almuth Schult.
Shortly afterwards, Wolfsburg broke the deadlock as the excellent Harder ran at the Chelsea defence and beat Lindahl with a clinical finish at her near post.
Ewa Pajor should really have made it two when she ran through on goal and missed the target with only Lindahl to beat. The Polish striker was not to be denied though and she put the tie beyond any further doubt with twelve minutes remaining, when she headed in from an Alexandra Popp cross.
So near yet so far for the two English clubs as they attempted to match Arsenal's feat of reaching the Final eleven years ago, however both clubs will be encouraged by the runs they have made this season as they fell at the last hurdle. For Lyon and Wolfsburg though, they meet in the Final for the third time, Wolfsburg having triumphed in their two previous meetings.
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