Soccer-Barcelona beat Lyon 2-0 to win second straight Women's Champions League


Soccer Football - Women's Champions League - Final - FC Barcelona v Olympique Lyonnais - San Mames, Bilbao, Spain - May 25, 2024 FC Barcelona's Jana Fernandez and Bruna Vilamala celebrate with the trophy after winning the women's Champions League final REUTERS/Susana Vera

BILBAO, Spain (Reuters) - Second-half goals from Aitana Bonmati and Alexia Putellas earned Barcelona a 2-0 win over Olympique Lyonnais in the Women's Champions League final on Saturday, their second straight victory in the competition.

Barca, who beat VfL Wolfsburg 3-2 in last year's final, came into the game seeking to go one better than their 2019 and 2022 finals against French powerhouse Lyon, which they lost 4-1 and 3-1 respectively.

This time around they finally found the right combination of organisation and individual brilliance to beat Lyon, the most successful team in the competition's history, in a tight, tense final.

With a huge number of their fans in attendance at the San Mames stadium in Bilbao, Barcelona survived an early scare when Lucy Bronze almost steered the ball into her own net in the 14th minute, but instead it struck the woodwork and bounced harmlessly away.

At the other end, Lyon's Vanessa Gilles had to clear the ball off the line when a Mariona Caldentey shot that had been saved ricocheted goalwards and Caroline Graham Hansen also went close to scoring as the first half finished 0-0.

Barca gradually got more of a grip on the game and Bonmati, who won the Ballon d'Or and FIFA Best Women's Player award for 2023, broke the deadlock in the 63rd minute with a shot from a tight angle which deflected off Lyon's Gilles past keeper Christiane Endler.

Lyon sent on Norwegian striker Ada Hegerberg but the competition's record goalscorer, who has been troubled by injury for much of the season, was unable to find the net despite a couple of decent chances.

Instead, Putellas, who had been struggling with a persistent knee problem, came off the bench and netted a stoppage-time goal to seal Barcelona's win.

"We knew we needed to be a club that made history, it's not easy - it's hard to do it once, but to do it back to back? Lyon showed how difficult that is," Barcelona defender Bronze told broadcaster DAZN.

"This team has finally done that, I think we go down in history as one of the best teams in Europe."

There was disappointment in the Lyon camp as they felt they didn't perform to their usual level in a competition they have dominated over the years.

"I'm very emotional, no-one likes to lose a final ... I'm still very proud of my team, We gave it our all, we have some regrets of course, but hopefully next year we're back again," Lyon midfielder Danielle van de Donk said.

(Reporting by Philip O'Connor, editing by Ed Osmond and Toby Davis)

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