So-Yun Ji fired a fine free-kick home but Chelsea could not topple Lyon as a 1-1 draw proved enough for the reigning champions to reach their fourth-straight Women's Champions League final.
South Korea midfielder Ji whipped home a smart set-piece finish to hand Chelsea hope, in Sunday's semi-final second leg at AFC Wimbledon's Kingsmeadow.
But Lyon edged through 3-2 on aggregate, courtesy of Eugenie Le Sommer's well-worked finish laid on by inaugural women's Ballon d'Or winner Ada Hegerberg.
Emma Hayes' Chelsea side battled to the death against the much-vaunted Lyon outfit, who now face Barcelona in a bid for their fourth Champions League crown in succession.
Chelsea's defeat means they cannot qualify for next term's Champions League either as they were unable to force their way to a top-two finish in the Women's Super League.
French giants Lyon though power on, bidding to add yet another European title after claiming a 13th-consecutive domestic league crown in midweek.
Lyon dominated from the start, boasting the sharper passing and more proficient play patterns.
So when Hegerberg fed Le Sommer for her fellow forward to drill home, there were precious few surprised observers in New Malden.
Hegerberg's neat turn merited the acclaim of an assist, but Chelsea goalkeeper Ann-Katrin Berger will have been frustrated to see the ball creep under her body after a slight deflection off Maren Mjelde.
Chelsea had spoken about hounding Lyon off their stride but needed the jolt of slipping behind to remember that pre-match mission.
Erin Cuthbert won a free-kick on the edge of Lyon's area, and that allowed Chelsea to strike from their sole genuine raid of the first half.
Ji whipped the free-kick into the net with zero fuss, to drag Chelsea back into the tie.
Ramona Bachmann and Lyon goalkeeper Sarah Bouhaddi were both booked for tussling over retrieving the ball from the net.
Hegerberg turned a cross the wrong side of the post as Lyon pressed again, but the teams turned around locked at 1-1.
Chelsea forced their way onto the front foot after the break, Bachmann seeing a low effort blocked by Amel Majri.
Captain Karen Carney curled a rasping effort against the post, before Millie Bright forced a point-blank save from Bouhaddi.
Hegerberg drew a full-stretch save from Berger, headed wide and then blasted past the near post as Lyon pressed again.
But Chelsea replacement Drew Spence blew the best chance of the half, side-footing wide at the far post after a free-kick.