UEFA Women’s Champions League - Road to Cardiff: Olympique Lyonnais

Dominant at points, sub-par at others, there was still little surprise when current holders and French champions Olympique Lyonnais booked their spot in the UWCL final.  

Scoring for fun

A round of 32 tie had, like PSG and LSK, Lyon pitted against a Toppserien team, namely Avaldsnes who had earned their spot in the last 32 via the qualification rounds. Despite a brave showing from the hosts in Haugesund, there was no denying Lyon’s quality, the French champions were able to hit their hosts for five (although still conceded twice). The return leg at the Parc OL saw Lyon put another five past Madalyn Schiffel, there was to be no early wobble from the French force.

Lyon’s aggregated 10-2 score from the first-round was mere peanuts when they came up against Nationalliga champions, FC Zürich, Les Fenottes hit the Swiss side for 17 over the two legs via ten different goalscorers. The current holders ruthless both home and away, the French side with no less than 72 shots over the three hours, a clear warning sent out to the rest of Europe.

Below their best

Into the last eight without having broken a sweat, Lyon were faced a tough quarter-final as they came up against the side they’d beaten on penalties in the previous final, VfL Wolfsburg. Despite not having the better of it in Germany, especially in the first-half, the Wolves were left wanting when it came to finishing and a mishit from Camille Abily opened the scoring after the hour; the hosts given a near-impossible task when Dzsenifer Marozsán made it two 74 minutes in.

Wolfsburg’s scoring problems followed them to the Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes, Lyon looking a little off the pace as they played out what looked to be a stalemate, Caroline Graham Hansen’s late penalty all too late for the side from Lower Saxony. Not at their glittering best, Lyon had navigated a potential banana skin and made it to the last four.

Man City defeated as Lyon soar into final

Up against unknown quality and tournament debutantes, Lyon remained sub-par by their own standards in semi-final against WSL champions, Manchester City. A second minute lead – another early start courtesy of Saki Kumagai from the spot – not quite the key to unlock the floodgates as many would have predicted. Pegged back by Kosovare Asllani, Marozsán’s third goal of the tournament enough to see the visitors leading at the break, Eugénie Le Sommer’s second-half strike enough to give them some breathing room.

In a run of wobbly fixtures, the hosts failed to shine on their return to the Parc OL and a needless give-away from Sarah Bouhaddi could have been enough to see the holders knocked out after she passed the ball to Carli Lloyd and the American reduced the arrears. However with both sides below their best and the home defence still looking strong, Lyon secured their spot in the showpiece final without their usual flare.

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