Lyon cruised through the Women’s Champions League final and defeated Barcelona 4-1 to win the club’s fourth consecutive UCL title. After scoring four goals in 30 minutes—which included a 17-minute hat-trick from Ada Hegerberg—Lyon were able to sit back, relax and enjoy the remaining hour of game time as Barcelona certainly tried their best to get some semblance of an offense going, ultimately getting nothing more than one consolation goal.
The eventual champions started things off early scoring just five minutes into the match. Dzsenifer Marozsán slotted a cross in for the opening goal. It was quite an emotional moment for Marozsán because she is a native of Budapest, which is where the final took place. Hegerberg then began her hat-trick heroics just nine minutes later. The 23-year-old wrapped her day up with a one-timer fired into the back of the net at the 30-minute mark to give her club a 4-0 lead that was taken into halftime.
Lyon’s tactics were certainly more loose in the second half, which provided Barcelona with far more attacking opportunities than what the first half offered. However, each attack felt like the scene in Saving Private Ryan where a wounded Tom Hanks started desperately firing his pistol at an incoming tank. Even in their relaxed state, Lyon were able to snuff out most of what Barcelona tried to throw at them.
One of the tougher moments for Barcelona came just before the 70th-minute mark when everyone in the crowd seemed to be on the thrashed Spanish squad’s side and were encouraging them to get something in the net. That chance nearly came when Vicky Losada whipped a cross over to Alexia Putellas, who flicked the ball cleanly to Lieke Martens. Martens appeared to have a good look at goal, but her half-volley attempt went just wide and kind of bummed everyone out.
The consolation finally came in the 88th minute, when Barcelona’s Asisat Oshoala caught Lyon’s defense napping—or more likely figuring out what the team’s celebration plans were going to be later that evening—and outpaced the backline to prevent a shutout.
Forget the fact that Lyon has become an unbeatable powerhouse in women’s European soccer for a second. Even by the standard they’ve set in recent years, this outcome was still a bit of a shock. Barcelona is far from a team that was lucky to be there. No team had scored a Champions League goal against them in September, and most of their wins came by way of harassing opponents in the final third of the pitch.
As The Guardian’s Suzanne Wrack points out, the apparent discrepancy in talent level that was on display might have had a lot to do with who each team faced on their respective paths to the final. Lyon faced last year’s runners-up in the quarterfinal and had to overcome a physical Chelsea team in the semis whereas none of Barcelona’s opponents (Cypriot’s Barcelona FA, Glasgow City, LSK Kvinner, and Bayern Munich) were anywhere close to either of those teams’ levels. One just needs to look at this match up ending 2-1 on aggregate last year to see how much the tougher path helped strengthen Lyon’s approach.