Lyon secured a record-extending eighth Women's Champions League title with a 3-1 victory over Barcelona on Saturday at the Allianz Stadium 

Defending champions Barca had only lost one competitive game all season but found themselves three goals down after first-half strikes from Amandine Henry, Ada Hegerberg and Catarina Macario. 

Blaugrana captain Alexia Putellas pulled one back just before the interval, but Lyon controlled the second half in Turin to ease to another European success. 

Lyon required just six minutes to take the lead as Henry scored an incredible solo goal, dancing inside from the left before firing a remarkable, long-range effort into the top-right corner. 

Jennifer Hermoso was denied by Christiane Endler as Barca looked to respond, but Lyon struck again when Selma Bacha crossed for Hegerberg, who headed in her 59th goal in 60 Champions League games. 

Hegerberg almost added a third but Sandra Panos raced out to thwart the striker, who turned provider in the 33rd minute by teeing up a simple tap-in for Macario. 

Putellas reduced the deficit by volleying home Caroline Graham Hansen's right-wing centre, while Patri Guijarro hit the crossbar with an audacious strike from the halfway line after the interval. 

Barca substitute Asisat Oshoala headed a golden opportunity wide and Hegerberg saw a stoppage-time volley hit the post as Lyon cruised to victory. 

Lyon coach Sonia Bompastor says Saturday's Women's Champions League final against Barcelona will be a "50-50" affair, despite the Blaugrana's favourites tag.

The French outfit are seeking an eighth title against Jonatan Giraldez's side, who have suffered just one loss this term across all competitions.

Bompastor is seeking to become the first woman to win the Champions League as both a player and a manager after 2011 and 2012 triumphs with Lyon.

The chance for looming history means she is determined her side will not be discounted in Turin.

"Let's not forget Lyon have a lot of experience," she said at Friday's pre-match news conference. "This allows us to know how to approach it, but a final is 50-50. A magician never reveals their tricks.

"But our team is a talented and we have the skill set necessary to give them a run for their money, which is what we're going to do.

"This is a 10th final for Lyon and the chance to win an eighth title. That's more important than anything for me as an individual."

Barcelona forward Asisat Oshoala, meanwhile, insists her side will not underestimate their opponents and their impressive pedigree too, even on the cusp of a famous clean sweep.

"Lyon are a well respected team in Europe – they won the Champions League five years in a row and they are obviously the team to beat here," she said.

"They're much stronger than they were three years ago. It would be good to win the Champions League again, not because it is Lyon we're playing against but because it's going to be an amazing experience for us to have it back-to-back.

"We're getting closer to our goal, we're getting closer to where we want to be, so on the day I think it's going to be amazing.

"It will be nice to play in front of a full stadium again with an amazing atmosphere, beautiful soccer from beautiful and great teams in Europe."

Barcelona have been praised by Lyon defender Selma Bacha for "helping European football evolve" after the sides booked their places in the Women's Champions League final.

Holders Barca saw their run of 45 successive wins come to an end in Saturday's 2-0 semi-final second-leg defeat to Wolfsburg, but they still advanced 5-3 on aggregate.

The Catalan club are into their third final in four seasons and will be looking to retain the trophy they won for a first time last year when they take on Lyon in Turin on May 21.

Lyon, who with seven titles are the most successful side in the competition's history, beat domestic rivals Paris Saint-Germain 2-1 in the second leg to win the tie 5-3 on aggregate.

That match at the Parc des Princes was watched by 43,254, a record for a women's club game in France.

Barca recently set the record for the highest attendance for a women's club game with 91,648 in attendance for the first leg of the Wolfsburg semi-final.

And Bacha believes Barca deserve huge credit for helping to lift the women's game both on and off the field.

"They are helping European football evolve. They play in a similar way to the men's team and are an example to the rest of women's football," she said.

"When you hear 'Barcelona versus Lyon in the final', it sounds great. I hope there are going to be a lot of fans who come. And we'll do all we can to win it."

 

Lyon have lost only three of their last 44 Women's Champions League matches and have only failed to score in one of their last 36 European games.

Ada Hegerberg opened the scoring for the French side on Saturday with a record-extending 58th goal in the Women's Champions League, and had another ruled out.

Marie-Antoinette Katoto gave PSG hope when scrambling in, but Wendie Renard made sure of progression for Lyon.

"We wanted to come to Paris in an attacking frame of mind," Lyon forward Hegerberg said. "The atmosphere was magnificent. It was a great evening of football. 

"We have to keep going as we are. It's not over, but it's great what we've done. I'm proud of the girls. It was tough. We're going to prepare for the final."

Barcelona were watched by a world-record crowd of 91,648 fans as they hammered Wolfsburg 5-1 in the Women's Champions League semi-finals.

Only last month, a record crowd for a women's football match of 91,553 attended Camp Nou as Barca defeated Real Madrid 5-2 in the same competition.

It was another five-star showing from Jonatan Giraldez's team on Friday, as the attendance record was surpassed.

Barcelona will head into next week's second leg of the last-four tie with a comprehensive lead, thanks to goals from Aitana Bonmati, Caroline Graham Hansen, Jennifer Hermoso and Ballon d'Or winner Alexia Putellas, who scored twice.

Barca are the Champions League holders and look well placed to go on and retain their title. French rivals Lyon and Paris Saint-Germain face off in the other semi-final, with the first leg on Sunday.

Barcelona are setting records as they plough through the Women's Champions League draw, but Wolfsburg are not intimidated as they prepare for a semi-final against the mighty Catalans.

A crowd of 91,553 saw Barcelona crush Real Madrid 5-2 on Wednesday to seal a last-four place, and Jonatan Giraldez's team have won their last 37 games, scoring five or more goals in 18 of those victories.

They last failed to win in pre-season, when edged out 3-2 by Lyon at the Women's International Champions Cup in Portland, and remain on course to successfully defend the Champions League title they won by thrashing Chelsea 4-0 last May in Gothenburg.

Barcelona men's coach Xavi said the packed Camp Nou for the Real Madrid clash marked a "historic day for football and society" as it entered the record books as the best-attended women's game in history.

Wolfsburg, who won the Champions League in 2013 and 2014 and are nicknamed the 'She-Wolves', booked a clash with Barcelona in three weeks' time by beating Arsenal 2-0 on Thursday for a 3-1 aggregate triumph.

Head coach Tommy Stroot said on uefa.com: "The anticipation of meeting Barcelona is huge.

"A chance to go there and to welcome them to Wolfsburg. We know how big a team Barça are, but we want to measure ourselves against the best."

Alexia Putellas hailed Barcelona's win over Real Madrid at a packed-out Camp Nou as "utterly magical" after a record-breaking night in the Women's Champions League.

Ballon d'Or Feminin winner Putellas scored the fourth goal as Barcelona triumphed 5-2 in the second leg, and 8-3 on aggregate, booking a semi-final place.

The reigning European club champions were rampant in the second half, after at one stage being 2-1 down, and the flurry of goals delighted a record crowd of 91,553 spectators.

That is the highest recorded attendance for a women's football game in history. In club football terms, it surpassed the 60,739 that saw Atletico Madrid host Barca at Wanda Metropolitano three years ago.

Captain Putellas said: "This has been utterly magical. When the match finished, the fans simply didn't want to go home. There was such a connection between them and us while we celebrated. To hear them singing that they want to go to Turin was superb."

Arsenal or Wolfsburg await Barcelona in the semi-finals, before Turin's Allianz Stadium, home to Juventus, stages the final on May 21.

Putellas explained that the sight of a bumper crowd inside Barcelona's home stadium was uplifting for the women's team, who play most of their games at the 6,000-capacity Estadi Johan Cruyff.

She said, quoted on uefa.com: "When tickets sold out in just three days I admit that we were all a little surprised because it tells you how much the fans want to see you in the Camp Nou, how much they want you to win."

The experience was "beyond comparison", she added.

"To come out and see this stadium full to the brim... indescribable."

Team-mate Fridolina Rolfo gave the morning-after verdict on Thursday.

"Wow, it is hard to put into words just how special that was," Rolfo wrote on Twitter. "For me it was a dream come true and I hope that it shows young girls all over the world that football is for them and that they can achieve whatever they dream of achieving.

"We are just getting started."

Barcelona eased to a 5-2 victory over rivals Real Madrid at Camp in front of a record crowd to reach the semi-finals of the Women's Champions League 8-3 on aggregate.

Holding a 3-1 lead from last week's first leg in Madrid, Barca did not let the occasion get to them on home soil in front of a confirmed attendance of 91,553 spectators.

The previous record crowd for a women's football match was 60,739 for Atletico Madrid's match against Barca in 2019.

Barca, who have now won 76 of their past 79 matches, will face the winner of the Paris Saint-Germain versus Bayern Munich match later on Wednesday.

Maria Pilar Leon opened the scoring inside eight minutes with a looping shot, though Olga Carmona's penalty and Claudia Zornoza's drive put Madrid 2-1 up on the night.

Madrid were within one goal of Barca on aggregate at that stage, but three strikes in 10 minutes from Aitana Bonmati, Claudia Pina and Ballon d'Or winner Alexia Putellas took the tie out of the visitors' reach.

Caroline Graham Hansen drilled in another for Barca to round off the scoring with 20 minutes to play, giving the expectant home crowd exactly what they were after.

Speaking at full-time, Hansen told DAZN: "This is just too crazy. The crowd are not leaving, they are staying here to celebrate with us.

"It's goosebumps all over the place. It's been amazing, something I never dreamed of happening. 

"In the first half I missed a really big one; then in the second half, I got one and I will remember it all my life. It can make money. If we are having fun, people will want to repeat it."

Barcelona claimed a second Clasico victory in three days as the Blaugranes beat Real Madrid 3-1 in the Women's Champions League quarter-final first leg.

Just 48 hours after Xavi mastered a 4-0 rout at Santiago Bernabeu, the Femeni followed suit at Estadio Alfredo di Stefano; Alexia Putellas scoring twice as they came from behind to record a 40th consecutive win in all competitions.

Despite enjoying 57 per cent of the first-half possession, Barca trailed at the break after Olga Carmona struck in the eighth minute for the hosts, who also hit the post through Esther Gonzalez.

That was only the second goal the reigning champions had conceded in this season's Champions League – and first since their 5-1 rout of Arsenal in September.

But the visitors, who last suffered defeat when they were beaten 4-3 by Atletico Madrid in June 2021, responded in the 53rd minute; Putellas slotting home from 12 yards after VAR ruled that Carmona had fouled Caroline Hansen in the box.

The Blaugranes completed the turnaround nine minutes from time, Claudia Pina drilling home after the ball ricocheted kindly into the substitute's path.

Putellas then wrapped up the victory deep into stoppage time; rounding off a quickfire counter with her seventh goal in the competition - and seventh in six appearances against Madrid.

Clubs who make it to the finals of UEFA's competitions will have extra tickets allocated their way, which must be offered to supporters, not sponsors.

UEFA confirmed on Monday that it would release 30,000 free tickets for the finals of the Champions League, Europa League, Europa Conference League and the women's Champions League.

Of those tickets, 6,000 have been allocated to each of the women's Champions League final and the Europa Conference final, with 8,000 to the Europa League and 10,000 to the Champions League showpiece.

UEFA has insisted that clubs must allocate these tickets to "their most loyal supporters", such as season ticket holders, but that they must not be given to officials, sponsors or partners.

Prices for category four and three tickets have also been frozen at €70 and €180 respectively for the next three men's Champions League finals, from 2022 to 2024.

Aleksander Ceferin, UEFA president, said: "Football fans are the lifeblood of the game and we thought it would be a nice way to recognise the difficulties they have experienced over the last two years and how they nevertheless still managed to support their teams and live their passion even when away from the stadiums.

"Fans are playing an integral part in the development of football, and we must ensure that loyal travelling supporters can attend historical moments for their cherished teams at affordable prices."

A UEFA statement detailed that the governing body would cover the costs related to what was described as a "unique one-off initiative", and that the cap of the Champions League final ticket prices was in order to mitigate the impact of prices having undergone "significant hikes" over recent years.

"By deciding to cap these prices for these prestigious games for at least three seasons, UEFA wishes to send a strong signal to fans and ensure that access is affordable to all," the statement concluded.

This season's Champions League final will take place in St Petersburg. The 2023 final will be in Istanbul, which was due to host last season's showdown between Chelsea and Manchester City, but that match was moved to Porto in order to allow fans to attend the game amid coronavirus travel restrictions. The 2024 final will be played in London at Wembley.

This year's Europa League final will take place at Sevilla's Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan stadium, with the Europa Conference League showpiece to be held in Tirana, the capital of Albania. This campaign's women's Champions League final is scheduled for May 22, in Turin.

Chelsea manager Emma Hayes demanded more protection for players after Sam Kerr sensationally knocked over a pitch invader during the midweek Women's Champions League clash against Juventus.

After winning the FA Cup at Wembley on Sunday, high-flying Chelsea played out a goalless draw with Juventus at Kingsmeadow in London on Wednesday.

The result, which left Chelsea waiting until the final group game to secure a place in the Champions League knockout stage, was overshadowed by a pitch invader during the closing stages of the match.

An individual entered the field to take selfies, prompting Chelsea and Australia star Kerr – who scored twice in the FA Cup victory over Arsenal – to barge over the pitch invader with her shoulder, leading to a yellow card.

"I don't know why he didn't just wait until the end. He could have had a photograph if he really wanted one," Hayes said.

"Jokes aside, you do have to think about player safety.

"We've seen in the growth of the game there is a sense that the players are more in demand. I think it should serve as a reminder to our stadiums and our stewards that we have to put player protection first."

It capped a frustrating night for Chelsea, who were unable to breach Italian visitors Juventus.

Chelsea are top of Group A after five matchdays, three points clear of Juve and Wolfsburg.

Hayes' Chelsea visit Wolfsburg at AOK Stadion on December 16, looking to clinch their quarter-final berth.

Pernille Harder is encouraged by the increasingly competitive nature of the Women's Champions League after Chelsea reached the final last season in a campaign where Lyon's run of titles was ended.

Lyon had been European champions in five successive seasons heading into 2020-21, pipping Harder's Wolfsburg in 2018 and 2020.

The Denmark superstar was named UEFA Women's Player of the Year on both occasions and secured a world-record move to Chelsea, where she again made the final.

The Blues came up short, but there was a new name on the trophy as Barcelona claimed their first title after Lyon were knocked out in the last eight.

Harder, speaking on behalf of Heineken, told Stats Perform: "Chelsea, as a team, we want to be one of the big teams in the world, and I think we still are. I think we can develop more from last year.

"Last year, we reached the final, so that's good, and we have the potential to be even better.

"But I also think the competition is really high. Now, there are so many good teams in Europe, so it will also be even more difficult to reach the final and to win the Champions League.

"I think it's good that it's not only one team that is just dominating the women's football.

"Lyon has been doing that for so many years, but I think now more teams are getting into the competition.

"Obviously, Lyon is still one of the big teams who will compete about the title, but it's really good that it has developed in this way with more teams being contenders for winning the title."

Team success is the priority for Harder, despite her individual recognition following Wolfsburg's final runs.

"The individual [awards] wasn't a goal for me – it was just the outcome," she said. "But the ultimate goals are to develop and to develop as a team but also to win titles.

"If that will make me win another individual award, that's just maybe a result on a good season. But that's not the main goal for me."

Heineken is a new sponsor for the Women's Champions League and Women's European Championship, which Harder sees as evidence of the sport's development.

"It's great that Heineken has chosen to go into women's football, to the Women's Champions League and the [Women's European] Championship that's coming in the next years," she said.

"It just shows the way women's football has developed, that a big brand like Heineken wants to go in and help to develop women's football even more.

"So, obviously, me as a football player, a women's football player, I'm really happy and pleased about that."
 

Watch Heineken's latest announcement video sharing three more reasons to cheer, having extended its already expansive footprint in motorsport and football with three exciting new partnerships – UEFA Women's Champions League, UEFA Women's European Championship and W Series.

Jorginho and Roberto Mancini could cap a golden year for Italy by landing UEFA honours after both were shortlisted for top awards on Thursday, though Manchester City duo Kevin De Bruyne and Pep Guardiola could spoil the Azzurri's party.

Azzurri midfielder Jorginho won the Champions League with Chelsea and followed that by helping his country to Euro 2020 glory, under the leadership of coach Mancini.

Jorginho, 29, is joined on the three-man shortlist for UEFA Men's Player of the Year by Chelsea team-mate N'Golo Kante, a standout in the Champions League final, and by City playmaker De Bruyne.

Kante played for France at Euro 2020 and De Bruyne featured for Belgium, but neither side made the progress many anticipated, with Les Bleus eliminated in the last 16 and the Red Devils bowing out to Italy in the quarter-finals.

The three players received the most votes from a panel consisting of the 24 head coaches at Euro 2020, the 80 coaches from the Champions League and Europa League group stages, and journalists from each of UEFA's 55 member associations.

The Men's Coach of the Year shortlist consists of the two coaches from the Champions League final, Chelsea's Thomas Tuchel and City's Guardiola, plus Italy boss Mancini.

It means there is no place for Gareth Southgate, who guided England to their first major men's final since the 1966 World Cup. He finished seventh in voting, UEFA announced, behind Villarreal's Europa League winning boss Unai Emery, Atletico Madrid's Diego Simeone and former Inter coach Antonio Conte.

Like Guardiola, both Simeone and Conte led their club sides to domestic league title success.

The winner of each award will be announced at UEFA's Champions League group stage draw on August 26 in Istanbul.

Barcelona had a clean sweep of the players shortlisted for the Women's Player of the Year prize, following their Spanish league and cup and Champions League treble.

The Spanish duo of Jennifer Hermoso and Alexia Putellas were joined on the list by Dutch club-mate Lieke Martens.

UEFA's women's awards stem from votes from each of the coaches in the Champions League last 16 and the leading 12 coaches according to UEFA's national team rankings, plus a pool of 20 journalists.

Former Barcelona boss Lluis Cortes is joined on that list by Chelsea's Emma Hayes and Sweden coach Peter Gerhardsson.

Istanbul will finally get to stage the Champions League final in 2023, UEFA has announced.

The Ataturk Olympic Stadium in Turkey was originally due to put on Europe's biggest club match in 2020, only for the coronavirus pandemic to mean the closing stages of the tournament were shifted to Lisbon.

The quarter-finals, semi-finals and final were all played in Portugal's capital, with Istanbul awarded the 2021 final instead.

However, that too was taken away when UEFA moved the match between Chelsea and Manchester City to Porto, this time because Turkey was on the United Kingdom's travel red list amid the continuing COVID-19 health crisis.

Supporters of the two English clubs would have been unable to make the trip to Istanbul, but restrictions on travel to Portugal were less stringent.

Now UEFA's executive committee has awarded the 2023 final to Istanbul, in the hope it will get to stage the game in two years' time. Munich was due to host the game but will instead stage the 2025 final.

UEFA said in a statement: "Following the relocation of the 2021 UEFA Champions League final from Istanbul to Porto, it was decided to award the staging of the 2023 UEFA Champions League final to the Ataturk Olympic Stadium in Istanbul.

"Furthermore, the European club season kick-off event, which includes the draws for the group stage of the UEFA Champions League, UEFA Europa League and UEFA Europa Conference League will take place in Istanbul at the end of August both for the 2021-22 and 2022-23 seasons."

UEFA said that Wembley's position as host venue for the 2024 final was unaffected.

It also said it had reached "a settlement agreement" with Dublin and Bilbao after both cities were unable to stage Euro 2020 matches, as had been the original plan.

They could not meet UEFA's requirements on spectator numbers, owing to the COVID-19 situation, but the governing body said it recognised "the efforts and financial investment put by the two cities in preparing for the tournament".

It said Dublin would now host the 2024 Europa League final and Bilbao would stage both the 2025 Europa League final and the 2024 Women's Champions League final.

UEFA has announced the away goals rule will no longer be used in any of the organisation's club competitions for the 2021-22 season.

The regulation was first introduced in 1965 to decide the outcome of a two-legged knockout tie in cases where the teams were level on aggregate.

However, statistical data has shown a reduction in the gap between home and away wins, according to data released by the governing body on Wednesday, as well as the average number of goals scored at home and on the road.

Following the recommendation of both its club competitions committee and women's football committee, UEFA has abolished the ruling for the upcoming campaign, with the change made ahead of the start of the qualifying phases.

"The away goals rule has been an intrinsic part of UEFA competitions since it was introduced in 1965," UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin said in a statement.

"However, the question of its abolition has been debated at various UEFA meetings over the last few years. Although there was no unanimity of views, many coaches, fans and other football stakeholders have questioned its fairness and have expressed a preference for the rule to be abolished.

"The impact of the rule now runs counter to its original purpose as, in fact, it now dissuades home teams – especially in first legs – from attacking, because they fear conceding a goal that would give their opponents a crucial advantage.

"There is also criticism of the unfairness, especially in extra time, of obliging the home team to score twice when the away team has scored."

Analysing data stretching back to the mid-1970s, UEFA revealed how the success rate for teams at home in men's competitions had dropped from 61 to 47 per cent, while away wins had risen from just 19 per cent up to 30 per cent.

"It is fair to say that home advantage is nowadays no longer as significant as it once was," Ceferin said.

"Taking into consideration the consistency across Europe in terms of styles of play, and many different factors which have led to a decline in home advantage, the UEFA executive committee has taken the correct decision in adopting the view that it is no longer appropriate for an away goal to carry more weight than one scored at home."

The decision means away goals will no longer be a factor to consider in the Champions League, Europa League and the new Europa Conference League, as well as the Women's Champions League.

Barcelona won the Women's Champions League for the first time as a freak early own goal helped them to a 4-0 win over Chelsea.

Melanie Leupolz inadvertently put the ball past her own goalkeeper after just 35 seconds, and a penalty from Alexia Putellas followed by strikes from Aitana Bonmati and Caroline Graham Hansen had Barcelona four goals clear before half-time.

English champions Chelsea were expected to pose a major threat to the Barcelona goal, but key forwards Fran Kirby and Sam Kerr had an off night in Gothenburg.

Barcelona were able to cruise through the second half and become Spain's first winners of the competition, putting a 4-1 defeat to Lyon in the 2019 final firmly behind them.

On that previous occasion, Barcelona trailed 4-0 after 30 minutes, but this time it was Chelsea who suffered from the early onslaught against impressive Spanish league champions.

Lieke Martens hit the bar with a powerful shot from the edge of the penalty area after just 20 seconds, and as Chelsea scrambled to clear, Kirby booted the ball against the shin of team-mate Leupolz, resulting in it looping over goalkeeper Ann-Katrin Berger and into the top left corner.

Barcelona boss Lluis Cortes watched his team attack with verve and great movement, winning a penalty when Leupolz clipped Jennifer Hermoso. Putellas converted and Barcelona were two goals clear after 14 minutes.

Putellas then picked a pass that released Bonmati to toe in the third, and it was 4-0 after 36 minutes when Graham Hansen buried a close-range chance after Martens dashed down the left and away from Niamh Charles before crossing low across goal.

While Barcelona celebrated, their victory removed the possibility of Chelsea winning both the men's and women's Champions League titles in the same season.

After Emma Hayes' team fell short, Chelsea will hope Thomas Tuchel's men avoid such a sour experience in the men's final on May 29 when they face Manchester City.

Hayes told BT Sport: "Today was difficult because the game was over before it began. That's what is so difficult to reflect on. The damage was done.

"I'm proud of the second-half performance. Congratulations to Barcelona. They're worthy winners and deserving of their title.

"They were favourites for a reason and you have to stay in the game against this team.

"The early goal and the manner in which we conceded it, and the penalty. Once you get a 2-0 lead in these games ... I felt everything fell for them. They got the rub of the green. They made that happen. They're a wonderful team and deserving winners."

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