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Champions League

UWCL Roundup: Lyon Are The Queens Of European Club Football

REGGIO NELL'EMILIA, ITALY - MAY 26: The players of Olympique Lyonnais celebrate a victory at the end of the UEFA Women's Champions League Final VfL Wolfsburg and Olympique Lyonnais between at Mapei Stadium - Citta' del Tricolore on May 26, 2016 in Reggio nell'Emilia, Italy. (Photo by Marco Luzzani/Getty Images)

Gerard Precheur’s Olympique Lyonnais, as predicted on The Stoppage Time, did win the UEFA Women’s Champions League Final over Ralf Kellermann’s VfL Wolfsburg but they were forced to work for it, prevailing 4-3 on penalties after finishing 1-1 after 120 minutes. Ada Hegerberg scored in the 12th minuute of play for Lyon, while Alexandra Popp equalized on 88 minutes. Ironically, Hegerberg missed her penalty, but Lotta Schelin, Wendie Renard, Griedge Mbock and Saki Kumagai converted. Popp, Isabel Kerschowski and Babett Peter converted for Wolfsburg, with Nilla Fischer and Elise Bussaglia missing.

“It was a good match but for a good match you need two good teams, I congratulate Wolfsburg on that,” said Precheur. “The equaliser came after one pre-match instruction was forgotten but generally my team worked perfectly in defence and attack. We had the match under control – we managed to neutralise their front four. We organised our defence well and Wolfsburg had very few chances to score – but in the 88th minute they managed it. We could have spared ourselves the drama by scoring a second goal, but we are happy still.

“I came back into coaching two years ago. I know how demanding it is – you have invest all your energy in it and on a professional level I am very happy. But tomorrow morning I can say that Gérard Prêcheur the man can say to Gérard Prêcheur the coach: ‘I am proud of what you did tonight and in the last two years with Lyon.’”

“I always train to take penalties like this [with a long run-up] – I want to see what the goalkeeper does first in such a situation,” said Kumagai, who is The Stoppage Time’s Player of the Game. “Of course we are sad that [Amandine Henry, Lotta Schelin and Louisa Necib] are leaving but before the game we swore we had to win it, for us but especially for them. We managed to handle the emotions and focused from the first minute to the last, and now we just feel happiness.

“It got really hard, especially after Wolfsburg equalised two minutes before the end of normal time. We had been trying to get a second goal – we had chances – but we didn’t score so you always risk letting in an equaliser, and perhaps we did make some mistakes late on and Wolfsburg managed to come back. It was the game we expected – a tough game, but in the end we came through.”

“I cannot find the words – it is probably the biggest day of my life,” said Hegerberg. “I was a bit [annoyed] to concede the goal two minutes before full time, a bit angry, obviously – mentally it is hard to come back. I missed a penalty but thankfully the girls did the job and I am really proud of the team and what we have achieved this season.”

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“It was an emotional rollercoaster tonight,” said Lyon midfielder Amandine Henry. “First they equalised, then we had extra-time and finally we won on penalties. In recent years we have always missed our penalties but this time we turned things around so it’s a great feeling. It’s wonderful [to leave Lyon for Portland Thorns with victory] and it rounds off our season perfectly. We won the treble so we are super happy.”

“First of all I want to congratulate Lyon for their success,” said Kellermann. “It is so hard to lose a match like this on penalties but nevertheless we can all be proud. We managed to keep the match open until the end with our great mentality – we managed to show everything we had on the pitch to fight this team that has such huge ability. We are proud of what we did but of course it hurts terribly right now.

“We were stable in defence, yes Lyon had chances but that is normal. We only let in one goal and it was more than avoidable as it was after we had lost possession. Psychologically, reaching extra time we perhaps could have got the second goal but so could Lyon. Shortly after the equaliser we did have the feeling that we could win but overall it was a tight game and a penalty shoot-out is a lottery. It is even harder as we were ahead in the shoot-out but I have respect for any player who is prepared to step up.”

“We actually played the way we wanted to play, apart from trying not to concede a goal, but through our own individual mistakes we gave them that gift,” Popp added. “That was a pity, then we tried to play a bit differently in the second half with two strikers up front. That’s how we managed to put pressure back on Lyon, and we made a great comeback by being mentally very strong again.

“At the end we could feel that we have played a long season and that we had had to play a lot of matches, one every three or four days, and so some of our players had to fight with cramp towards the end. But this also shows that we gave our all in this match to try and win the trophy. Unfortunately, it didn’t work for us in the penalty shoot-out, it’s a 50-50 chance. Congratulations to Olympique Lyonnais. If we look at the chances created and the shots on target, then maybe they deserved to win it.”

2015/16 top scorers
13: Ada Hegerberg (Lyon)
9: Ebere Orji (Ferencváros)*
8: Jill Roord (Twente)*
7: Uchechi Sunday (Minsk)*
6: Cristiane (Paris Saint-Germain)
6: Aleksandra Sikora (Medyk Konin)*

*Includes goals in qualifying round

Previous season top scorers
2014/15: Célia Šašic (FFC Frankfurt) 14
2013/14: Milena Nikolic (ŽFK Spartak) 11
2012/13: Laura Rus (Apollon Limassol) 11
2011/12: Camille Abily, Eugénie Le Sommer (both Lyon) 9
2010/11: Inka Grings (Duisburg) 13
2009/10: Vanessa Bürki (Bayern München) 11
2008/09: Margrét Lára Vidarsdóttir (Valur Reykjavík) 14
2007/08: Vira Dyatel (Karkhiv), Patrizia Panico (Bardolino Verona), Margrét Lára Vidarsdóttir (Valur Reykjavík) 9
2006/07: Julie Fleeting (Arsenal) 9
2005/06: Margrét Lára Vidarsdóttir (Valur Reykjavík) 11
2004/05: Conny Pohlers (Turbine Potsdam) 14
2003/04: Maria Gstöttner (Neulengbach) 11
2002/03: Hanna Ljungberg (Umeå) 10
2001/02: Gabriela Enache (Codru Anenii Noi) 12

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All-time top scorers
49: Anja Mittag (Turbine Potsdam/Rosengård/Paris Saint-Germain)
48: Conny Pohlers (Turbine Potsdam/FFC Frankfurt/Wolfsburg)
46: Marta (Umeå/Tyresö/Rosengård)
41: Lotta Schelin (Lyon)
40: Nina Burger (Neulengbach)
39: Hanna Ljungberg (Umeå)
38: Inka Grings (Duisburg/Zürich)

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