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Champions League: Barcelona seeks to overcome Lyon in final

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Barcelona’s women’s team

Barcelona’s women’s team aims to cement its dominance in European football by conquering their long-standing unbeatable rival, Lyon, in the Women’s Champions League final tomorrow.

The match in Bilbao will see the Catalan club strive for its third European title within four seasons, a remarkable achievement.

Barcelona, appearing in their fourth consecutive final, faces the daunting challenge of defeating the record eight-time champions Lyon, a team they have yet to overcome in previous encounters.

The French giants have triumphed in all four meetings against Barcelona, including decisive victories in the 2019 and 2022 finals.

“This Barcelona team is a tidy European side, and they are the holders, so we know, above all, to respect all of our opponents,” said Lyon coach Sonia Bompastor.

“We know that all our rivals want to bring Olympique Lyonnais down a peg or two, so they’re always very motivated.”

Bompastor aims to become the first woman to win the title as a player and coach.

Lyon’s dominance in the Women’s Champions League is unmatched, with the team reaching their 11th final in 15 seasons.

They boast an impressive five consecutive titles from 2016 to 2020, and they hold nearly every club record in the competition. However, they missed out on the semifinals last season, making Barcelona’s rise and the growing recognition of their star players, Alexia Putellas and Aitana Bonmatí, both recent recipients of the Player of the Year award.

Barcelona’s journey to the final included overcoming a 1-0 first-leg loss to Chelsea in the semifinals,

“We have the confidence of being a more experienced team,” said Barcelona coach Jonatan Giráldez.

”We’re a team that has been growing a lot, not only in domestic competitions, international competitions but also with the national team, of course.”

Giráldez will depart to join U.S. club Washington Spirit at the season’s end.

The Catalan club had a significant presence in Spain’s national squad that clinched the nation’s first Women’s World Cup title last year, and eight of their players were part of Spain’s victorious squad in the inaugural Women’s Nations League earlier this year.

Lyon’s path to the final saw them eliminate domestic rivals Paris Saint-Germain. Still, they entered the match without two key scorers from their 2022 final victory, Amandine Henry and Catarina Macario. Additionally, star striker Ada Hegerberg is doubtful due to an injury.

A victory for Barcelona would not only be a statement win but also place them among the elite, becoming the third team to secure three European titles, alongside Lyon and Eintracht Frankfurt.

For Lyon, reclaiming the trophy would reinforce their storied legacy and demonstrate their resilience in the face of emerging challengers.

Source: AP  For more sports news, visit WestAfricaWeekly

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