England defender Lucy Bronze told our man in Kyiv, KIERAN THEIVAM, that it felt good to be the first English player to lift the Women’s Champions League (in its current format) following her side’s 4-1 extra-time win over Lyon, but admitted it took her side a while to get going in Kyiv.
A truly brutal five-minute spell in the first period of extra-time saw Amandine Henry, Eugénie Le Sommer and Ada Hegerberg score after Dane Pernille Harder had put Wolfsburg ahead. Lyon’s flood of goals came moments after Alexandra Popp had been sent off for the Germans (second yellow), while the retiring Lyon legend Camille Abily came on to add a fourth, five minutes from time.
Bronze on going behind but coming back to win the UWCL being the ‘best thing’: “Watching their goal go in was heart-breaking and having just had a goal disallowed that definitely crossed the line, was kind of an up and down situation.
“And then yeah, to come off the back (of that), they had a red card and then it was ‘Goal, Goal, Goal,’ and that finished the game off.”
The 26-year-old defender admitted that the triumph was “the best thing I have done to date,” saying it could only be topped by trophies with England.
“It’s the best thing – apart from winning trophies with England – it’s the Champions League. Definitely the fact that we won 4-1 is huge but it’s definitely the best thing I’ve done to date.”
Meanwhile, Wolfsburg keeper Almuth Schult admitted that trying to play a side like Lyon was always going to be difficult a player down.
The Germans have had a busy end to the domestic season and played extra-time and penalties just five days earlier in the German Cup Final (DFB Pokal Final) against Bayern Munich, and she stated the team as a result had “lost a lot of power.”
Schult on believing they could win but coming up short against Lyon: “We were really on top and then we got that red card, that was a real break in our game, but this can happen. You see how good Lyon is when you are one player less.
“When we got the 1-1 we thought maybe we can come back and score because we have a lot of good players, but I think we missed some power. We had a real long cup final on Saturday that we won on a penalty shootout. So we lost a lot of power, you saw that everybody was tired.”
While the game will have been emotional for all involved, few will have been more overcome than Lyon’s midfielder, Camille Abily. The 33-year-old has made a record number of appearances in the UWCL and is retiring at the end of the season (with the French Cup final to come next week), and after claiming her fifth Champions League title, she said she couldn’t have hoped for a better way to end her European journey.
Abily on her fifth UWCL title and a a fitting finale: “It was just amazing, I couldn’t have hoped for a better end.
“This is the last one, so it is a nice moment and I am happy to share this with my teammates, but they are more than this, some are my friends and next year I know I will cheer for them for sure.”
WATCH HIGHLIGHTS OF THE GAME (THANKS TO THE BBC) HERE!