Lyon and holders Barcelona face off in the Women’s Champions League final

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Paris (AFP)- Record-breaking seven-time winners Lyon beat French rivals Paris Saint-Germain on Saturday to join defending champions Barcelona in this season’s Women’s Champions League final.

The showpiece in the Italian city of Turin on May 21 will bring together the leading team in European women’s football of the past decade and the side that ended their hegemony last year and are now looking to retain their title.

Ada Hegerberg and captain Wendie Renard scored Lyon’s goals either side of a Marie-Antoinette Katoto strike as they beat PSG 2-1 to win their semi-final 5-3 on aggregate.

The match at the Parc des Princes was watched by a new record audience for a women’s club game in France of 43,254, a week after a world record 91,648 saw Barcelona win the first leg of their fixture draw at home against Wolfsburg.

Earlier, Barcelona’s 45-game winning streak came to an end as they lost 2-0 to Wolfsburg in Germany, but the Spanish champions advanced 5-3 on aggregate to their third final in four seasons.

Barcelona won their first title last year by thrashing Chelsea 4-0 in the final in Gothenburg.

It ended Lyon’s run of five consecutive Champions League crowns and the French club also saw their grip on their domestic title ended last season by PSG.

Still, they are close to reclaiming that crown and they are determined to challenge for the Champions League as well after following up their 3-2 first leg win to defeat a struggling PSG side.

“We started this season with the objective of recovering the trophy,” said Lyonnaise Selma Bacha, who is full of praise for Barcelona.

“They help European football to evolve. They play in the same way as the men’s team and are an example for the rest of women’s football.”

Lyon silenced the Parisian public in Paris by taking a 14th-minute lead through 2018 Ballon d’Or winner Hegerberg, with the Norwegian rising above Ashley Lawrence to head Bacha’s cross from the wing left.

PSG saw Czech goalkeeper Barbora Votikova injure her knee at half-time but were given hope to salvage the second-half draw.

First Hegerberg had the ball in the net again only for a VAR review to detect offside and disallow the goal, then PSG equalized on the night in the 62nd minute when prolific French striker Katoto returned the loose ball after Sandy Baltimore’s effort. checked in.

Another PSG goal would have extended the tie, but instead Lyon came back top on the night and secured their place in the final, when towering centre-back Renard headed in a Bacha free-kick at seven. minutes from the end. .

Wolfsburg victory in vain

Lyon are playing in their 10th Champions League final in 13 seasons and are also set to reclaim the French title from PSG, five points clear of their rivals with three games left in the season.

Barcelona have already won the Spanish title and already had a place in the final after beating Wolfsburg 5-1 at home in the first leg.

Jill Roord (C) prepares to score Wolfsburg’s second goal against Barcelona. The Spanish champions lost 2-0 on the evening but reached their second straight final Tobias SCHWARZAFP

It meant the pressure was largely on them in Germany and they fell behind two minutes into the second half when Tabea Wassmuth scored with a deflected strike from outside the box.

It was Wassmuth’s 10th goal in 10 Champions League appearances this season, moving his level with Barcelona captain Alexia Putellas, the reigning Ballon d’Or.

Jill Roord made it 2-0 with a superb strike before the hour mark, but two-time champions Wolfsburg had too much to do to save the tie.

“We knew it would be difficult going into the second leg. It’s not easy to keep winning and winning,” Barcelona coach Jonatan Giraldez said.

“Maybe the defeat comes at the right time because it didn’t stop us from reaching the final.”

The final will give Barcelona the chance to avenge their 4-1 loss to Lyon in the 2019 showpiece in Budapest.


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