Extra-time surge gives Lyon fifth crown
Sunday, June 3, 2018
Lyon became the first team to win five titles and three in a row, but had to come from behind in a frantic extra time against Wolfsburg in Kyiv.
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When a tight 90 minutes finished 0-0 in the Kyiv final between Lyon and Wolfsburg, it seemed a third straight penalty shoot-out would be needed to decide the title.
Lyon defeated Wolfsburg by that method in 2016 after a 1-1 draw, and repeated the trick against Paris Saint-Germain 12 months later following a goalless 120 minutes. Lyon were to become the first team to win three consecutive UEFA Women's Champions League crowns, and five overall – but spot kicks were not required, to say the least.
It was Wolfsburg who struck first, Pernille Harder ensuring that the German champions became the only side to lead Lyon in a final since they themselves had dethroned the French giants 1-0 in 2013. But, within ten minutes, Lyon were 3-1 up. Key Wolfsburg player Alex Popp saw red before quickfire goals from Amandine Henry, Eugénie Le Sommer and Ada Hegerberg, who became the first player to score 15 in a single season of this competition.
Two of those three goals were set up by Shanice van de Sanden, brought on after Wolfsburg took the lead, and the Dutch UEFA Women's EURO 2017 winner completed a hat-trick of assists by setting up fellow substitute Camille Abily to make it 4-1. It was a special moment for Abily, who was to retire at the end of a season in which she set a new competition record of 81 appearances, while also becoming the first player to manage 43 goals for a single club in the tournament.
The win took Lyon one ahead of FFC Frankfurt on five titles. Abily, Le Sommer, Sarah Bouhaddi and Wendie Renard set new records by having played in all five of those final wins; Bouhaddi and Renard have also featured in all seven of Lyon's finals, another unprecedented figure (by a player or club).
It was a record-breaking season overall. The total of 61 initial entries was a new high, while Anja Mittag of Rosengård became the first player to reach 50 career UEFA women's club goals in the round of 32. Thanks to Slavia Praha and Sparta Praha, the Czech capital broke new ground as the first city to have two teams in the same round of 16, while Manchester City and Chelsea ensured England became the fourth nation to produce two of the four semi-finalists, a feat previously managed by France, Germany and Sweden.
It was also the third final between Lyon and Wolfsburg after 2013 and 2016, the two dominant clubs in the competition this decade equalling the record set by the sides that loomed large in the 2000s – Frankfurt and Umeå (2002, 2004 and 2008). Meanwhile, the 14,237 spectators who witnessed their showdown in Kyiv were enthralled by an extra time that produced more goals than any other previous UEFA football final.