UEFA Women’s Champions League: Lyon’s record wins

This final between Barcelona and Olympique Lyonnais players began with a huge difference, which will become a harbinger of the course of this game. Lyon’s Ada Hegerberg had to decide what to do with the ball near her team’s penalty area. She paused and then decided to pass him away from the gate where she saw Amandine Henry. But the French could not get close, and then Barcelona captain Alexia Putillas ran towards her.

They both lost their balance, and when he fell, it was Henry who retained control, got up fast – and blasted off amazingly from over 25 metres. But not by any means. I specifically shot the ball in a beautiful arc at the right angle in a way that few people can do. After that, Henry looked very relaxed, as if she already knew at that moment what kind of scenes this sixth minute goal was supposed to include.

Two hours later she found herself in the middle of a crowd of fellow players, tears of joy in her eyes and overwhelmed by what had just happened. Lyon won the Champions League for the eighth time. The winner in 2020 beat the winner in 2021. “Winning a game like this with such a performance against an amazing team is fantastic,” said USA international Lindsey Horan. From start to finish, coach Sonia Bombastor, who took up professionalism in April 2021, left footballers with no doubt that Olympique Lyonnais would once again be inscribed in the Silver Cup that evening in front of 41,000 spectators at the Juventus Stadium in Turin.

When the two teams last met in the 2019 Premier League category final, Barcelona had no chance against the record-breaking champions. That match was a turning point for Catalan footballers. After that, they wanted to train harder, more often, and for longer. A development that culminates in the Treble in 2021. So this one defeat unleashed a whole new power. But now it seemed as if the disgrace lay like a shadow upon the Spaniards and disturbed them.

Where is the magic of Barcelona? Where is tiki taka?

Jonatan Giráldez’s team made extraordinary mistakes. And the defense failed to control Lyon. In the 23rd minute, Hegerberg completed a cross from Delphine Cascarino with a powerful header to make it 2-0. The goal marks the Norwegian’s 59th goal in the competition, the most goals scored by anyone else. Where was Irene Paredes? What was Maby Leon doing? And Fridolina Rulfo? Barcelona’s defense allowed Hegerberg. And if the 26-year-old had finished more specifically after three minutes, it would have been 2-0 after a foul by Barcelona’s defence.

Semi-final coaches: Sonia Bombastor (left) and Jonathan Giraldes.

(Photo: Alberto Lingria/Reuters)

In the absence of injured German player Dzsenifer Marozsan (rupture of the cruciate ligament), Lyon made better decisions throughout the match and barely allowed the opponent to rest in an already difficult match. Olympic hardly allowed world footballer Botelas to do so. The outstanding midfielder was constantly snagged by one, two or three players – and under that pressure she didn’t make mistakes again and again in this technically talented team famous for its dominant style.

Putillas had previously said, “We have a lot of self-confidence. We know we’ve raised high expectations.” But where was the magic? Where is tiki taka? Barcelona was overtaken rather than developed. Not least in the 33rd minute, when Hegerberg crossed the ball diagonally from the right in the penalty area and Catarina Macario directed it to the post with her left hand, where it rolled over the line. 3: 0 – and only half an hour is over. Barcelona goalkeeper Sandra Banos herself prevented him from reaching right behind her after hitting a hammer away from Hegerberg (36 min).

Then Barcelona was born. Caroline Graham Hansen brought one of her infamous passes in the middle of the penalty area, specifically to the approaching Botillas, who now does not want to be stopped. Flat, unstoppable for Lyon goalkeeper Christian Endler, she scored to make 1:3 in the 41st minute.

It was a wake-up call that gave the defending champions more confidence in the second half, allowing them to play more aggressively and bringing the attack closer to goal more often. Which was also due to the replacement of Asisat Oshoala and Ana Maria Crnogorčević. The spectators in the stands couldn’t calm down at all. Patricia Gigaro almost surprised Endler from 45 metres, but the ball hit the crossbar (59′). And Lyon fans tried to outdo the Barcelona fans with their chants, sometimes one prevailed, sometimes the other. And on the field, the game has become more balanced. In the closing stages, it was Barcelona who attacked more than once and set the tone. They freed themselves from Leon’s tight embrace at first. But in the end they played not only against Olympique, but also against time – and they lost.

Leave a Comment