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Barcelona beats Lyon to win a third Women's Champions League title in four years

By The Associated Press
Posted 1:58PM on Saturday 25th May 2024 ( 1 month ago )

BILBAO, Spain (AP) — Barcelona ended its losing streak against Lyon to clinch its third Women’s Champions League title in four years on Saturday.

World player of the year Aitana Bonmatí scored in the second half and former world player Alexia Putellas added the second deep in stoppage time for Barcelona to win 2-0 in front of a record crowd of 50,827 for a final.

Barcelona lost the two previous finals it played against the French side and all four of its previous matches against Lyon, which remains the most successful club in the women’s game with eight European trophies.

The victory underlined Barcelona’s recent dominance. It was playing in its fourth consecutive Women’s Champions League final, having won it last year and in 2021.

“We knew we needed to be a club that made history,” Barcelona defender Lucy Bronze said. “It’s not easy, it’s hard to win it once, but to do it back to back, Lyon showed how difficult it is. This team’s finally done that. We go down in history as one of the best teams in Europe.”

The women’s triumph comes amid continued turmoil in the men’s team, which hasn’t succeeded in Europe recently and saw player great Xavi Hernández leave as the coach on Saturday. Club president Joan Laporta, who sacked Xavi, celebrated the title with the women's players who won the quadruple this season.

Barcelona's success follows Spain’s triumphs last year in the Women’s World Cup and the inaugural Women’s Nations League.

It felt like a home match for Barcelona as its fans occupied most of the seats at San Mames Stadium in Basque Country.

It was an even match from the start, with neither team creating many significant scoring opportunities. Lyon hit the woodwork and goalkeeper Christiane Endler made easy saves at the other end.

Lyon was able to keep Bonmatí in check during most of the match, but she broke through with the opening goal with a nice run into the area before firing a left-footed shot past Endler in the 63rd minute. The ball deflected off the leg of Lyon defender Vanessa Gilles. Bonmatí was named the player of the match.

Putellas came off the bench in stoppage time and scored a few moments later. She celebrated by taking off her jersey and running toward the fans.

Lyon coach Sonia Bompastor, the first woman to win the Women’s Champions League as a player and coach, was trying to become the first woman to win two titles as a coach.

Lyon was playing in its 11th final in 15 seasons, and was seeking its first title since it beat Barcelona in the 2022 final. The French club also defeated Barcelona in the 2019 final. It won five titles in a row from 2016-20.

Barcelona became the third club with three Women’s Champions League titles, behind the eight of Lyon and the four of Eintracht Frankfurt.

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AP soccer: https://apnews.com/hub/soccer

Barcelona's fans celebrate after Alexia Putellas scoring her side's 2nd goal during the women's Champions League final soccer match between FC Barcelona and Olympique Lyonnais at the San Mames stadium in Bilbao, Spain, Saturday, May 25, 2024. (AP Photo/Jose Breton)
Barcelona's Alexia Putellas, right, is congratulated after scoring her side's 2nd goal during the women's Champions League final soccer match between FC Barcelona and Olympique Lyonnais at the San Mames stadium in Bilbao, Spain, Saturday, May 25, 2024. (AP Photo/Jose Breton)
Barcelona's Keira Walsh, center, leaps to clear the ball away from the box during the women's Champions League final soccer match between FC Barcelona and Olympique Lyonnais at the San Mames stadium in Bilbao, Spain, Saturday, May 25, 2024. (AP Photo/Alvaro Barrientos)

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