Aussies to go head-to-head in women's Champions League quarter-final
Matildas captain Sam Kerr may have seen her Champions League ambitions shattered for another season, but some of her teammates — as well as a top Australian coach — are still hunting success in the biggest club competition in the women's game.
Kerr's Chelsea never made it into Monday's quarter-final draw after being sensationally knocked out by Wolfsburg, but four of her national team colleagues, not to mention Juventus coach Joe Montemurro, still harbour ambitions of lifting the big prize.
Melbourne's Montemurro, the former Arsenal boss in the English Women's Super League, has made a huge impact since taking the reins at Juventus this season, steering them well clear at the top of the Italian league.
His side also made it into the final eight of the Champions League for the first time ever this season, finishing second behind Wolfsburg in their competitive group.
A crucial 0-0 draw against Chelsea on the penultimate match day — the now-famous Sam Kerr versus pitch-invader game — saw Juventus in the group' driver's seat heading into the final round.
They eased past winless Servette last week to secure their knock-out place, while Wolfsburg's dramatic 4-0 defeat of Kerr's Chelsea saw the Blues crash out less than a year after making the Champions League final.
Now, the Motemurro's team will be pitted against another Matilda in Lyon full-back Ellie Carpenter, who's become a huge favourite at the once-dominant French outfit striving to regain their long-held title as Europe's best.
Lyon's five-year reign as UWCL champions was ended last season after they were knocked out by French rivals Paris St Germain in the quarter-finals. Barcelona eventually went on to annex their title by beating Chelsea in the final.
But Lyon are back on top of the French league and will be favourites to derail a Juventus side dreaming of reaching the final in their home stadium.
Matildas Caitlin Foord, Steph Catley and Lydia Williams, who thrived under Montemurro at Arsenal, are now hoping to succeed for the Gunners where Kerr failed by getting past Germany's former winners Wolfsburg.
The other side of the quarter-final sees reigning champions Barcelona drawn in a women's Clasico against the recently-launched Real Madrid side, with the winners to meet either Arsenal or Wolfsburg in the semis.
Bayern Munich have also been pitted against PSG, who are currently distracted by the investigation into a violent attack on midfielder Kheira Hamraoui last month. The winners will take on Juventus or Lyon.
The first legs will be played March 22 and 23 next year, with the return games on March 30 and 31.
AAP / ABC Sport
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