One need only look to the recent player acquisitions of the FA Women’s Super League or the formation of Real Madrid Feminino to better understand the shifting nature of the women’s game, but some things simply refuse to change — namely Lyon’s domination of the UEFA Women’s Champions League.
Lyon is aiming for a sixth straight title this season, and the club’s journey began — as it has every year since the competition’s rebranding in 2009 — with the first leg of the Round of 32 on Wednesday.
The French side’s record at this stage is unfathomable. Entering Tuesday’s game, they’d played 22 Round of 32 matches, winning all 22 of them and outscoring their opponents by a total margin of 120-3.
But again, the competition is stronger than ever, and this year they were drawn against Juventus Women, which was founded in 2017 but has since won three straight Serie A titles without translating that domestic success onto the European stage. They’ve been eliminated at the Round of 32 stage twice, to Brøndby in 2018 and Barcelona last campaign.
Allianz Stadium in Turin played host, and it was Juve striker Lina Hurtig who opened the scoring in the 16th minute with a nice header off a great cross.
!The moment we opened the scoring#JuveOL #JuveUWCL #FinoAllaFine #ForzaJuve pic.twitter.com/VU3mNP71UT
— Juventus FC Women (@JuventusFCWomen) December 9, 2020
But Lyon pulled one back from the penalty spot in the 30th minute through Wendie Renard. Was it a penalty or a free kick on the edge of the area? You be the judge.
However, with eight minutes to play until halftime, Juventus did the unthinkable again and went up on Lyon after a flowing move ended with Kadeisha Buchanan putting the ball into the back of her own net.
With just over 20 minutes to play, Juventus was looking at a historic first leg victory, but Lyon came storming back through Melvine Malard in the 68th minute.
And the final hammer blow: Saki Kumagai with just two minutes to play.
That’s now 23 straight wins in the Round of 32 for Lyon, although the total aggregate score is now just 123-5. Still, Juventus travels to Lyon for the second leg on Dec. 15 with hope, which few clubs have done before them.
— The Equalizer (@EqualizerSoccer) December 9, 2020