From Leah Williamson's birthday bash to Chelsea's best 'ugly win' EVER! Women's Champions League winners and losers as Arsenal and Blues reach semi-finals

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Leah Williamson Millie Bright Sam Kerr Arsenal Chelsea Champions League 2022-23 GFX
The Gunners stunned Bayern Munich at the Emirates before their London rivals knocked reigning champions Lyon out of Europe in dramatic fashion.

Barcelona, Arsenal, Wolfsburg and Chelsea – those are the final clubs remaining as we prepare for the Women's Champions League semi-finals.

This week's action climaxed on Thursday evening with one of the competition's most dramatic games in its history, Chelsea scoring a 128th-minute penalty to take their tie with reigning champions Lyon to a shootout. It was there that they knocked out the eight-time winners.

Before that all unfolded at Stamford Bridge, Barca had already convincingly beaten Roma to reach the last four, Arsenal overcame a first-leg deficit against Bayern Munich to progress and Wolfsburg narrowly won a close tie with Paris Saint-Germain.

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Before we can look ahead to the next round, though, there is time to reflect on a crazy end to the quarter-finals. GOAL highlights the winners and losers from the last eight...

  1. WINNER: Leah Williamson

    WINNER: Leah Williamson

    Leah Williamson is a die-hard Arsenal fan. She joined the club at the age of nine and has risen through the ranks to become one of the team's star players and its vice-captain.

    On Wednesday, as she celebrated her 26th birthday, she walked out at the Emirates for a night under the lights in front of a record-breaking crowd, knowing a win would see her and her team-mates through to the club's first Women's Champions League semi-final in 10 years.

    When Kim Little went off injured after only 12 minutes, her role in helping Jonas Eidevall's side achieve that became bigger. She took both Little's position in midfield and her armband. Seven minutes later, her instinctive flick set up Frida Maanum to break the deadlock with a stunning strike.

    Supporting the defence and influencing the attack, the biggest compliment that can be paid to Williamson for her performance was that Arsenal were not hurt by Little's absence as they overcame a 1-0 deficit from the first leg to progress to the last four.

    "I think that is one of my favourite [nights here]," she told reporters afterwards. "Beating Spurs the first time here was pretty special, but this is probably up there with one of my favourite nights."

    Not a bad way to celebrate a birthday, eh?

  2. LOSER: Bayern Munich
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    LOSER: Bayern Munich

    Disappointing – that was one of the words that Bayern Munich boss Alexander Straus used to describe his team's performance on Wednesday night as they let a first-leg lead slip in the quarter-final tie with Arsenal and were eliminated in the last eight.

    In truth, Bayern didn't really turn up until later in the second half when they gave the Gunners (or, more accurately, the tense home crowd) a slight scare or two. But that was mainly because Arsenal had not put the game to bed, due to a mixture of wastefulness in front of goal and the star performance of the visiting goalkeeper, Mala Grohs.

    The German side beat Wolfsburg, their Bundesliga title rivals, just four days before this game. It was an exceptional performance that took them top of the table.

    That this below-par display against Arsenal followed one of their season highs made Bayern's night in London all the more frustrating for Straus, the team and the fans. They knew they were capable of more.

    There's no doubt that the Munich side have taken massive steps forward this season under the new boss, who was keen to stress the pride he had in what his players have done. They are still in with the chance of doing a domestic double, too.

    But this was a bad day at the office, and a night they will learn a lot from.

  3. WINNER: Caroline Graham Hansen

    WINNER: Caroline Graham Hansen

    Caroline Graham Hansen is well and truly back.

    The Barcelona winger endured over four months out after a thigh injury in late October but made her highly-anticipated return at the start of March, netting a 20-minute hat-trick as a substitute in a 5-0 win over Villarreal.

    That was simply a sign of things to come and, on Wednesday night, it felt like we were watching the Norwegian in full flow again.

    After a tricky first leg in Italy, Barca overwhelmed Roma at Camp Nou in 5-1 win that Graham Hansen was at the heart of. The nimble forward danced past defenders all evening, completing six dribbles, and created chances aplenty, ending the night with two assists.

    Her delivery across the face of goal put the ball on a plate for Fridolina Rolfo's second of the night while, for the Catalans' fifth, she whipped in a gorgeous cross from a corner that Patri Guijarro met at the near post to head home.

    Graham Hansen is one of the best wingers in world football and, after that long lay-off, she is finding form again at the perfect time as Barcelona target a fourth UWCL final in five seasons – and a second European title.

  4. LOSER: Kadidiatou Diani

    LOSER: Kadidiatou Diani

    There's no question that Kadidiatou Diani has been Paris Saint-Germain's star performer this season. With Marie-Antointette Katoto suffering an ACL injury last summer, Diani has had to move from her usual position on the wing to centre-forward.

    No.9 is by no means her most effective role – and yet she has scored 25 goals in all competitions this season, including a massive winner against Lyon in the league in December. Her most recent strike came on Thursday as she levelled the scores on the night in the second leg against Wolfsburg, getting PSG back into it at 2-1 on aggregate.

    However, as half-time approached, she left the pitch in some pain. The second 45 minutes would end with her team crashing out of the competition and even more bad news was to follow.

    It would soon be reported by Romain Balland that Diani had broken her collarbone and that she will be out for around six weeks. Consequently, she will miss the rematch in the league with Lyon that is likely to decide the destination of this season's title.

    It's a huge blow for PSG, but also for the player herself, who has been absolutely sublime all campaign.

  5. WINNER: Chelsea

    WINNER: Chelsea

    For large periods on Thursday night, it looked like Chelsea's Champions League dream was going to end in the quarter-finals. Lyon were creating chances aplenty, they took the lead late into the second half and doubled it in extra-time, giving the Blues less than 10 minutes to score to stay in the competition.

    But just when Chelsea's European hopes looked dead in the water, they were revived through Lauren James' footwork, a VAR review and Maren Mjelde's cold-as-ice penalty.

    It took the game to a penalty shootout and there Chelsea prevailed thanks to two saves from Ann-Katrin Berger. It was a monumental triumph over the eight-time European champions, one which will give the team a huge boost ahead of a massive end to the season that not only includes this competition, but also the WSL and the FA Cup.

    "It was the most character-building performance, even if it was the ugliest," manager Emma Hayes said afterwards.

    This is the trophy she and this team crave more than any other and, thanks to Thursday night's late drama, they still have a chance of lifting it.

  6. LOSER: France

    LOSER: France

    For the first time since the 2013-14 season, there will be no French representation in the UWCL semi-finals.

    Fortunately, the success of the nation means their coefficient is not in trouble but it's certainly a disappointing outcome for one of the powerhouses of the women's game and two of its most ambitious clubs.

    PSG have had their issues this season, particularly when it's come to replacing Katoto. Diani has done a great job but there have been games, especially in Europe, where they've clearly been hindered by not having a natural No.9. Coach Gerard Precheur hoped to address that in the January window but the club did not find a solution.

    For Lyon, injuries have hampered their campaign, with star striker Ada Hegerberg only making her return to the pitch in the build-up to the second leg against Chelsea after spending almost seven months on the sidelines.

    Asked by a member of the French media for her thoughts on two English clubs making the last four but neither Lyon or PSG, Lyon head coach Sonia Bompastor said: "I enjoyed Arsenal's performance last night. I think they have a really good chance of making the final. Chelsea are an effective team. They're comfortable defending. But I wouldn't say they were head and shoulders above us.

    "English football is on the up, but we'll keep working hard and taking the positives out of French football. Lyon is ambitious and wants to win titles."

    It hasn't been a good week for France but there are plenty of lessons for both of its representatives in this year's UWCL to learn.