Saturday, 22 Jun, 2024


Barcelona defend Champions League title with win over Lyon

Sports Desk |
Update: 2024-05-26 09:50:20
Barcelona defend Champions League title with win over Lyon photo collected

Barcelona defended their Women’s Champions League title and completed a sensational quadruple with victory over record eight-time winners Lyon in a pulsating final in Bilbao.

Ballon d’Or winner Aitana Bonmati scored the opening goal when her strike was deflected past goalkeeper Christiane Endler at the near post in the second half.

And minutes after her late introduction, Alexia Putellas confirmed victory for Barcelona with a clinical finish in stoppage-time.

It is the first time Barcelona have beaten Lyon, making amends for their final defeat in 2022.

In manager Jonatan Giraldez’s final European match in charge, Barcelona controlled possession as expected but were largely frustrated by a stubborn Lyon defence.

However, Caroline Graham Hansen was a standout performer, creating opportunities for Barca and tormenting Lyon’s backline, and the pressure eventually paid off.

Graham Hansen dragged an effort wide of the far post in the first half and was denied by an excellent last-ditch challenge from Selma Bacha later on, after team-mate Patri Guijarro had tested Endler.

But Lyon, whose manager Sonia Bompastor is set to replace Emma Hayes at Chelsea, also had chances – they hit the crossbar when England defender Lucy Bronze almost deflected a corner into her own net, before Wendie Renard and Kadidiatou Diani came close.

The competition’s all-time record goalscorer Ada Hegerberg was only fit enough for Lyon’s bench following a calf injury and was introduced with 10 minutes of normal time to play, but she could not help her side find a response.

England internationals Bronze and Keira Walsh were among those to pick up winner’s medals for Barcelona as they become just the third club to win the Women’s Champions League three times.

Putellas' emotional contribution
No team has won more European titles than Lyon’s eight and they have proven to be stiff competition for Barcelona.

The Spanish giants, who have dominated European football in recent seasons and were competing in their fifth final in six seasons, were heavily tested in their semi-final win over Chelsea and knew they needed to be at their best to overcome Lyon.

Both sides were cagey in the first half. Barcelona teased Lyon’s defence but lacked ruthlessness, while Bompastor’s side struggled for energy when they did regain possession.

But it felt like a matter of time before the game would open up and it did when Bonmati’s effort deflected in off Vanessa Gilles.

A frantic ending followed as Barcelona battled physically to maintain their lead and Lyon took risks in search of an equaliser.

However, it was Barcelona who were galvanised by the introduction of two-time Ballon d’Or winner Putellas, fresh from signing a contract extension with the club, and she capped off an emotional year following recovery from an anterior cruciate ligament injury to help her team conquer Europe again.

Source: BBC

BDST: 0950 HRS, MAY 26, 2024

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