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Having returned from the United States last summer, Camille Abily capped a memorable season back in Olympique Lyonnais colours with an inspirational performance in the 2-0 UEFA Women's Champions League final defeat of 1. FFC Turbine Potsdam in London.
The 26-year-old French international showed just why she is so vital for club and country, giving Potsdam little time on the ball in midfield and thrusting forward to support Lotta Schelin, Louisa Necib and Élodie Thomis in attack. The display earned a thrilled Abily the player of the match award from the UEFA technical team. "
It's just joy and happiness," she told UEFA.com. "It's fantastic what's happening to us. It's great to win this time. Last year Lyon lost on penalties, and this year it's a win. It's unbelievable."
Abily was not at Lyon when they were beaten at this stage by Potsdam 12 months ago but rejoined from California's FC Gold Pride having taken the American WPS title alongside the likes of Brazilian great Marta, who the midfielder had also played alongside in 2010 with LA Sol. But since returning to Lyon, where she had won three French titles between 2006 and 2009, Abily has helped Patrice Lair's side to another league championship and now their first European victory.
The key was a first-half performance in which gradually Lyon took control, culminating in Wendie Renard's 27th-minute opener, which was added to late on in some style by substitute Lara Dickenmann. "In the first half we were better than them, then it got a bit more difficult physically, but we defended well and did not concede," Abily said. "Sarah [Bouhaddi], our goalkeeper, made many saves, and as we were quite efficient up front, it was really good."
Capped 72 times, Abily has experienced many a setback before against German teams at both club and international level, but it was a different story at Craven Cottage. Something to think about ahead of France's group meeting with hosts Germany at the FIFA Women's World Cup in Monchengladbach on 5 July.
"Of course, it will help us a lot because we will play Germany, and psychologically it will do us some good," Abily said. "First we will really enjoy the evening, and prepare well for the World Cup afterwards."
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