Olympique Lyonnais (OL) roars again. In 2021, FC Barcelona ended Lyon’s series of five crowns in a row. In Turin, Sonia Bompastor’s players recovered their continental throne by beating the Spanish (3-1), a victory synonymous with an eighth Champions League in OL history.
“Winning against OL would be the perfect film,” Catalan star Alexia Putellas said ahead of the game. And if the Barcelona fans largely won the battle for decibels in the streets of Turin and in the stands of Juventus Stadium, it was Lyon who dictated the scenario of the meeting.
Under the Piedmontese dodger (more than 30 degrees on the thermometer), Amandine Henry took charge of the first conditioning of the game (6th), with a shot from the right in the skylight in front of the Catalan kop. A flash before the start of a big streak of possession and domination by Jonatan Giraldez’s players.
The “Femeni” technician wanted his “revenge” after the defeat at the same stage of the competition in 2019 (1-4). Nothing happened, even though striker Jennifer Hermoso had two equalizing balls. The first on a point-blank left shot deflected with a firm hand by goalkeeper Christiane Hendler (11th) then another nipped in the bud by Selma Bacha’s saving tackle from five meters, preventing number 10 Blaugrana from relaunching the part (16th). The reigning three-time Spanish champions have never denied their principles of play, with passing on the ground and quick transitions sometimes putting the Lyon defense to the test.
Winning comeback for Hegerberg
But in the queen of competitions, the weight of history plays a considerable role. Real Madrid – 13 times European champion – for men, has shown this this season with three improbable and successive comebacks against Paris, Chelsea and Manchester City. If the scenario is quite different, the Lyon workforce, which mixes experience and youth, was able to resist with force the strong moments of their opponent, before stinging brilliantly.
Sonia Bompastor did not fail to remind before kick-off the importance of the new elements. “Young people bring ardor and that is also our strength. When you’re young, you don’t ask questions, the challenge and the pressure, it slips over us and it gives us extra strength, “she said.
Carelessness embodied by Selma Bacha. The left side did not hesitate to throw herself at the feet of Alexia Putellas in the box in a hot situation in the first period or to try clean raises in her thirty meters.
Before seeing his audacity rewarded with a perfect cross on the head of Hegerberg (23rd), also passing on Caterina Macario’s third goal. A great reward for the Norwegian, the first Ballon d’Or in history in 2018, and who lived through two difficult years due to injuries to her right knee and then her left tibia, she who “couldn’t imagine being in the final last year “.
Putellas maintains the suspense
For the Catalans, the local icon is called Alexia Putellas, whose flocked jerseys bloomed as much as Lionel Messi’s throughout the day. The Ballon d’Or 2021 largely won the applause meter during the composition of the teams. If the jewel of FC Barcelona did not play its best match, it had the merit of sounding the revolt just before the break, responding to Ada Hegerberg with a beautiful recovery of the right on a perfect service from Caroline Graham Hansen (41st ).
A reduction in the score which revived the interest of the game in a second act dominated by the Spaniards, who almost returned to a goal on a lob from forty meters from Guijarro which hit the crossbar (58th). Behind, the Lyonnaises knew how to break the rhythm, between tactical faults, replacements and saving time.
And if Lyon did the big eight, this poster opposing two different styles of play offered a formidable showcase for European women’s football, capable of offering foolproof intensity over ninety minutes, in an atmosphere worthy of a great continental summit.
A good omen before Euro 2022, which should bring together a large part of the players present in Turin. In the meantime, Lyonnaises and Catalanes still have titles to win. For Barça, a victory in the Queen’s Cup would complete the national title already acquired.
As for the now eight-time European champions Lyon, one point would allow them to resume the French championship, abandoned last year at Paris-Saint-Germain. To prolong the roar.