Maren Mjelde admitted she was looking for a chance to score late on in Paris because she didn’t want extra-time in front of what she considered to be the loudest support she has ever played in front of.
The Norwegian stole in behind the PSG defence to calmly volley in what proved to be the deciding goal in our Women’s Champions League quarter-final tie. She cannot have scored a more important goal for the club, and afterwards explained what she was doing in such an advanced area of the pitch.
‘I didn’t want it to go to extra-time!’ Mjelde laughed.
‘I was looking for an opportunity and it came. I was positive. I saw Kaz [Carney] had the ball. I did a run, felt the ball was in the air for a long time, I just had to hit it well and I did. It was controlled and it was extra nice to see it go in.’
Silencing the crowd
The aggregate win was made all the more special coming as it did following a backs-to-the-wall performance that required plenty of last-ditch defending, with Mjelde particularly solid at the back. We also had to deal with a fanatical five-figure home following that created a lively atmosphere in the French capital.
‘I have played in front of a bigger crowd but maybe not one as noisy as this was,’ reflected Mjelde.
‘They are really good at supporting their team and all honour to them. It was a hard crowd to play in front of. At the same time you have to try and block it out as much as you can.
‘It was a bit difficult at the end when I was playing on their side, but at the same time I don’t understand French so I didn’t really pay attention!
‘It’s what motivates all us players, and it’s a good experience for everyone. It makes it even better when you go through.’