MANITOBA, Canada—With the UEFA Women’s Champions League semifinal ties set to resume this weekend, Canada’s Women’s national team is well represented with three Canadians remaining in the tournament at this point, matching the showing at the same point in last year’s competition.
Ashley Lawrence and Jordyn Huitema’s Paris St. Germain are up first as they look to overturn an away-goals disadvantage against Barcelona after a 1-1 first leg draw. In the first leg, Lawrence featured for PSG initially in a right wing position before moving to right back (so, the reverse of what we’ve seen in recent CanWNT matches) while Huitema was an unused substitute after featuring from the bench in both legs of their quarter-final tie against Lyon.
This is familiar territory for Lawrence as she was named to the UEFA Squad of the Season for her contributions to the 2017 PSG team’s run to the final, eventually losing to rival Olympique Lyon on penalties. Both Lawrence and Huitema were in the squad that once again fell to Lyon, this time in the semifinals, with Lawrence featuring at right-back in the single-knockout tie while Huitema took in the clash from the bench.
PSG got their revenge on Lyon this season, knocking them and fellow CanWNT player Kadeisha Buchanan out in the quarter-finals on away goals after a 2-2 aggregate finish. Their opponent Barcelona, the reigning Spanish champions, overcame Janine Beckie’s Manchester City 4-2 on aggregate in their quarter-final tie.
Despite not featuring as heavily as she would have liked in the knockout phases of the tournament so far, Jordyn Huitema is still a valuable attacking option for PSG off of the bench, with the Chilliwack-born striker sharing the lead for Canadian scorers in the tournament with Janine Beckie on six goals in all appearances, including two goals in the current tournament.
On the other side of the draw, Jessie Fleming’s Chelsea is looking to overcome a 2-1 away loss to Bayern Munich. Fleming did not feature in the match, but did feature in the second leg of their 5-1 aggregate win against Wolfsburg. Fleming, in her sophomore Champions League campaign with the London side, will be hoping to be given the opportunity to help sway the tie in the Blues’ favour in the second leg as they head back to Kingsmeadow. Their opponent, Bayern Munich booked their place in the semifinals after a 4-0 aggregate victory over Canadian Stephanie Labbé’s Rosengard.
After a rather disappointing first leg showing from a CanWNT perspective, all three remaining Canadian players will look to contribute to their teams overcoming their respective deficits in their bids to join Buchanan as the only Canadian winners of the competition. Buchanan is the lone Canadian to win the Champions League, having won it four times with the powerhouse Olympique Lyonnais.
This season eight Canadians took part in the Champions League, representing seven different teams: Huitema and Lawrence with PSG, Fleming with Chelsea, Kadeisha Buchanan with Lyon, Janine Beckie with Manchester City, Stephanie Labbé with Rosengard, Alyssa Lagonia with Servette FCCF, and Cloé Lacasse with Benfica.
The second legs take place early in the morning on Sunday, May 2, with PSG-Barcelona kicking off at 6:00am EST and Chelsea-Bayern Munich following at 7:30am EST with both matches available on DAZN Canada.