Ellie Carpenter enjoyed a winning introduction to Champions League football with her all-conquering Lyon side as the French holders began their campaign for a sixth straight title with a hard-fought 3-2 win at Juventus.
But Carpenter’s fellow Matilda Sam Kerr missed out on a Champions League goal feast on Wednesday as she was rested by Chelsea following her weekend injury knock and had to watch as her side blitzed Benfica 5-0 in Lisbon.
Carpenter, the brilliant fullback from Cowra who has already racked up 42 caps for the Matildas by the age of 20 and was the youngest Australian in the 2016 Olympics at just 16, signed for Lyon in June.
But she missed out on the French side’s last exceptional Champions League run, not coming off the bench in any of their three knockout matches in August, including the final win over Wolfsburg.
This season, though, the dynamic Carpenter has cemented her place in a side which is currently having its supremacy challenged both in France, where Paris St Germain recently ended their four-year unbeaten run, and now in Europe.
They had not lost a match in the Champions League since April 2017 but that record was in danger as they twice went behind in Turin.
Their pressure eventually told, though, as they prevailed with goals from Wendie Renard, from the penalty spot, Melvine Malard and a late 88th minute clincher from Japan’s Saki Kumagai.
The comeback victory meant that the holders have now won all 23 of their round-of-32 matches in the competition’s history and Lyon will be expected to complete the job in the second leg next week.
Chelsea’s place in the last-16 is nailed on after they waltzed to victory in Lisbon with a double from Fran Kirby and other goals from Millie Bright, Pernille Harder and Beth England.
Matildas captain Kerr, who had taken a knock on her hip after scoring her first Women’s Super League hat-trick against West Ham on Sunday, was not risked, nor needed off the bench, by manager Emma Hayes as Chelsea bagged their five in the first 54 minutes.
Elsewhere, Manchester City had to come from behind to earn a 2-1 win at Goteborg with goals from Georgia Stanway and Sam Mewis, while last season’s finalists Wolfsburg won 5-0 at ZFK Spartak.