Manchester City won the night, but Olympique Lyon emerged the real victors as they advanced to the UEFA Women’s Champions League final 3-2 on aggregate.
City showed something a little different in their game plan as they departed from their normal 4-3-3 to a 4-4-2 with Carli Lloyd up top instead of central midfield, where she has spent her tenure with the club thus far. The change initially showed signs of paying off against Lyon’s 3-5-2, but Lyon soon settled into the driver’s seat.
Midfielder Dzsenifer Marozsán got the first chance of the game in the seventh minute when she intercepted a header and one-timed a half volley from distance. Goalkeeper Karen Bardsley came up with an excellent diving save to tip it out for a corner kick.
Marozsán first times it. pic.twitter.com/TMQAINjagk
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Wingback Amel Majri had a very active game, taking on Lucy Bronze a number of times in a very exciting matchup. She tracked back to prevent Jill Scott from taking on goalkeeper Sarah Bouhaddi after half an hour of play and forced Bardsley into a quick save to end the half.
The game remained scoreless to start the second half, with Alex Morgan subbing on for Ada Hegerberg. She wasted no time creating chances and was nearly responsible for a City own goal, as Steph Houghton stepped in to deny the striker and fired it directly at Bardsley.
It’s perhaps not surprising that it would be Lloyd who would break the stalemate. In the 55th minute, she fired a rocket toward far post through traffic, but somehow Bouhaddi tracked it for an outstanding save. However, not two minutes later, it would be Lloyd who got the better of Bouhaddi.
The midfielder intercepted a soft pass from the goalkeeper intended for Griedge Mbock Bathy and wasted no time firing it over Bouhaddi’s head to put City up by one in the game, still down on aggregate.
— WomensSoccerUnited (@WSUasa) April 29, 2017
Sensing their time was running out, City pushed hard, but Lyon often did just enough to keep them from finding quality chances. Lyon thought they had found another goal of their own to put the series well out of reach in the 68th minute, but Eugenie Le Sommer’s strike was ruled offside.
Lyon may feel they deserved a penalty late in the game when Morgan and Bardsley collided on the edge of the box. Morgan got up gingerly, but no call was made.
Lyon will meet French rivals Paris Saint-Germain on June 1 for the UWCL final in Cardiff, Wales.