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Ada Hegerberg inspires Lyon to win over Barça in the Champions League Women’s Champions League


Lyon have re-established themselves as the dominant force in European women’s football in style with three goals in the first half to beat Barcelona’s hosts in a terrific Champions League final.

Striker Ada Hegerberg was the star who kept the ball in the build-up of Amandine Henri’s first goal, scoring the second and giving the assist for the third, which killed Catherine Macaria, when the usually smooth Barcelona struggled to cope with Lyon’s strength in the transition and careful management to defend a two-goal lead, while Alexia Putelas played one goal after the break.

On the eve of the final, no one was sure what would happen at the sunken Juventus Stadium northeast of downtown. Three years ago there was a clear gap between the old and new money of Lyon and Barcelona, ​​humiliated by the latter. Barcelona lost four times in 30 minutes Lyon revoltedled by Hegerberg, who scored a 17-minute hat-trick.

This defeat has fueled Barcelona’s plans ever since, it set a benchmark that the Catalan club had to reach and they invested and built accordingly. A 4-0 defeat by Chelsea last year’s final showed signs of arrogance they faced two years ago. But the question still remained, did they close the gap with the dominant power of Europe?

In the 33rd minute the answer was decisive: no. In the stifling humidity Lyon came to life. Within six minutes they were ahead. In front of the manager of the French national team Corinne Diacres Henri beat the best player of the year in UEFA Putelas, making a pass, coming out to meet and sending her shot into the top corner of 35 yards. That was the beginning of the statement.

“Before Barcelona there was women’s football, and they played here for many years,” said Hegerberg L’Équipe last month, disappointed by the constant chatter over the reigning European champions. “We have to win again to regain our place in world football.”

The Champions League record holder spoke well, but it was also inevitable that she would go for a walk because she always does. The perfect ball from Selma Bach on the left was a powerful head-down forward for Lyon, under which Mapi Leon flies and diving goalkeeper Sandra Panios. It was her 59th goal in the Champions League and her sixth in the final of the competition.

Ada Hegerberg scores Lyon’s second goal. Photo: Alberto Lingria / Reuters

Hegerberg had almost a second later, catching Irene Paredes’s short pass only to have Panosta take the ball off her feet as she tried to get around it.

The Norwegian striker will also play an important role in Lyon’s third match, contacting Melvin Mallard before teasing the ball against US team Macario on the back pole, who hurried behind the line.

Three goals scored in the 33rd minute of the game – this is not the usual situation for the often large Barcelona. It was the first time the Catalan team was two goals behind in the first half since the 2019 final and for the first time it was three behind in any match since that final.

It was a classic Lyon, fast, strong, muscular and powerful, and the Barcelona players looked just a little less hesitant before that than three years ago. But under the reach of an extraordinary number of itinerant fans, some of whom have amassed 37 coaches for a 24-hour round trip, Barcelona have begun to control the pace of the game a little better.

In the 41st minute, they scored. Winger Caroline Graham Hansen, who was kept very silent, found a wet pocket on the right and delivered the cross towards Putelas, who swept home with the inside of his leg. The forward collected the ball and accidentally threw it towards Hegerberg as she ran back to the center circle with a look that said, “The game continues.”

Hoping to bring some more energy to his attack, Barcelona manager Hanathan Giraldes has replaced striker Jenny Hermos with Assisat Oshoala. Despite the tense end of the first half, Barcelona could hardly contain their efforts in the second. Their best efforts came when Patricia Gihara robbed Macario and, seeing goalkeeper Christian Endler from his line, threw the ball into the goal, only to be denied a crossbar.

The gap is narrowing, but it has not yet been bridged. Barcelona has made tremendous progress, enough to turn it into a rivalry that will hopefully continue to delight.

Moving the gate
Illustration: Guardian Design

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