The loss of two key strikers would end the hopes of many teams, but with their vast array of attacking talent Olympique Lyonnais still managed to beat VfL Wolfsburg and win a record fifth consecutive UEFA Women’s Champions League title on Sunday.
The French champions lost former Ballon d’Or winner Ada Hegerberg to a knee injury earlier in the season and a red card shown to Nikita Parris in the semi-final against Paris Saint-Germain saw her suspended for the final against the German champions.
“People said it was the best time to play us because we were missing so many players, but we were the best side in the first half by a long shot and the game was almost finished at halftime,” Lyon defender Lucy Bronze said following the 3-1 win.
“We’ve definitely got the strongest squad in the world,” she added.
Lyon were able to call on experienced forward Eugenie Le Sommer to replace Parris, and she notched a goal and assist to allow captain Wendie Renard to lift the trophy in San Sebastian, Spain.
It was the seventh time that France internationals Le Sommer, Renard and goalkeeper Sarah Bouhaddi had been crowned club champions of Europe.
“It’s actually quite difficult to believe we have managed our fifth straight title, to be honest. We’re super proud of ourselves, it was a very difficult competition ... if you sign for Lyon, you sign up to be a winner,” Bouhaddi said.
Despite Wolfsburg’s best efforts, there is little to suggest that any other European club can knock Lyon off their perch and Renard intends to enjoy the club’s success.
“It’s hard to be a winner, you have to work extremely hard. You battle year in, year out for this trophy. We’re bringing it back. We’re bringing it back for the fans,” Renard said.
Taiwanese badminton star Tai Tzu-ying (戴資穎) yesterday beat Thailand’s Ratchanok Intanon in their women’s singles semi-final match to advance to today’s final at the Thailand Open. The top-seeded Tai overcame a 10-21 first-game loss to seventh seed and former world champion Ratchanok to dominate the final two games 21-13, 21-19 in 58 minutes of play at the Impact Arena in Bangkok. World No. 2 Tai is today to face world No. 4 Chen Yufei of China. Chen yesterday bested Pusarla Venkata Sindhu 21-17, 21-16 to secure her spot in the final of the Super 500 tournament. On Friday, Tai overpowered China’s He Bingjiao 21-10,
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