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Women's football Lyon have their trophy back: 3-1 win for the French club in Women's Champions League

LYON have their trophy back: the French club beat defending champions and favourites Barcelona 3-1 yesterday to pick up a record-extending eighth Women’s Champions League trophy.

The final had it all: a contender for goal of the season early on — and an effort that would have given it strong competition had it gone in instead of hitting the woodwork — and a goal from the league’s all-time leading goal-scorer in her comeback season.

That helped put Lyon 3-0 up after just 33 minutes, and some resolute defending saw them home as coach Sonia Bompastor became the first woman to win the competition as a manager as well as a player, having helped Lyon to their first two Champions League titles at the end of her playing career.

“The only difference between playing and coaching is experience. It was eight years ago and I’m a little bit older, a little bit wiser. What made me happy about tonight’s victory is that we were able to showcase exactly what this team is made of, individually and collectively.”

Lyon have taken eight of the past 12 Women’s Champions Leagues. Captain Wendie Renard, Sarah Bouhaddi and Eugenie Le Sommer have been part of all those successes. But Barcelona went into the final the favourites in Turin after one loss all season, and none domestically.

Jonatan Giraldez’s side were also backed by a vociferous crowd. More than 35,000 tickets were sold for the final and the small pocket of Lyon fans — waving Norwegian flags for their star striker Ada Hegerberg — were vastly outnumbered by their Barca counterparts.

A fantastic solo effort got Lyon rolling in the sixth minute. Amandine Henry slid into a tackle and swiftly got up to collect the ball, cut inside, and curl a 30-yard shot into the top right corner.

And just when Barca looked to have recovered their poise a little, Lyon scored again after Selma Bacha worked her way down the left flank and crossed in for the unmarked Hegerberg to head home.

Lyon were rampant against a shellshocked Barcelona and stretched their lead still further in the 33rd minute. The Barca defence made a mess of clearing the ball in their own box and Hegerberg, on the right, rolled it across to Catarina Macario on the left for the easiest of shots.

Just before half time, captain and Ballon d’Or winner Alexia Putellas rekindled Barca hopes, but after the break Lyon reined in their ambitions, defending in depth and with purpose, leaving Hegerberg upfield to fend for the most part for herself.

Barca’s Patri Guijarro almost scored a spectacular goal in the 58th minute when she spotted Lyon goalkeeper Christiane Endler off her line, but the audacious lob from just inside the Lyon half came off the crossbar. Endler looked to be injured on landing but was seldom tested, with Lyon’s backline resolute — though the pace of Asisat Oshoala, if not her accuracy or awareness of offside, stretched them at times as Giraldez looked to throw on more and more attackers.

Barca tried everything as time slipped away, with defender Irene Paredes adding to their numerous attacking options, but with the door left open at the other end, a Hegerberg volley hit the post deep in stoppage time. Another goal would have been too cruel.


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