Lyon and PSG were two of the favourites to lift the UWCL trophy, but neither of the French giants were able to make it to the final. The pair met in the quarter finals and Lyon, having won the five previous titles, were eliminated via a Wendie Renard own goal. It was then the turn of the Parisians to taste defeat, a brace from Barcelona’s Lieke Martens in her home country of the Netherlands guaranteeing that there would be a new name on the trophy. Back to the domestic scene in France though and the title race is neck-and-neck, the sides meet tomorrow in the penultimate game of the season and there is just a point between them. Who can put the Champions League disappointment behind them and clinch top spot in the league?
The situation between Lyon and PSG in France’s top division is a very tense one with the sides dropping points just twice combined, one of which coming in the reverse fixture. When the two met back in November of last year, Marie-Antoinette Katoto’s goal after ten minutes proved the difference in favour of PSG. The only other game that didn’t end in a win for one of the big-guns was a goalless draw a few months prior, Bordeaux hosting PSG and impressively denying the heavy favourites from finding the back of the net.
In terms of other results and since the UWCL elimination at the hands of Barcelona, PSG held a 3-0 lead away from home against their city rivals, conceding two late goals leaving them nervous but they had ultimately done enough for the three points. Next they visited Le Havre and goals from Danish international Nadia Nadim as well as Katoto saw them through, Signe Bruun who scored a brace in the 3-2 victory over Paris FC doing the same last time out. Meanwhile, Lyon have also shared the goals around in their recent outings since they were themselves knocked out of the UWCL, the likes of France’s all-time top scorer Eugenie Le Sommer, American youngster Catarina Macario, French national team captain Amandine Henry and also Amel Majri.
On the topic of Le Sommer and she has interestingly agreed a deal to sign on loan with NWSL side OL Reign until the end of the calendar year, a move that will take place once this season is over as the American league has recently began. She will be joining up with recently departed Manchester City duo Rose Lavelle and Karen Bardsley, the latter having recently been named in Great Britain’s 18-player Tokyo Olympics squad. Remaining in the attacking third and Ada Hegerberg has been absent for eighteen months following her horror injury last season, this being very telling. England’s Nikita Parris has often been Hegerberg’s replacement for Lyon but her future could lie back in the WSL when this year is over- the rumours of a swap deal between her and Arsenal’s Vivianne Miedema intensifying.
PSG were without Kadi Diani for the UWCL games against eventual champions Barcelona but the forward is back in training, how much of a role she will play in this game being up in the air. Her injury came with the silver lining as the likes of Sandy Baltimore and Lyon’s Catarino Macario were able to get more of an opportunity to impress, something both were able to do. Sticking with the former and Baltimore scored a spectacular goal in the most recent international break for France against England, quite a few of the players in action there coming from these two sides whilst Canadian Jordyn Huitema also featured against the Lionesses in that week.
PSG have the league’s joint top-scorer in Katoto, her 21 goals to date being matched only by Bunny Shaw of Bordeaux. On the other hand, Dzsenifer Marozsan of Lyon leads the way for assists, showing how finely balanced this game is. It truly could go either way with both teams determined to lift the title, but I think it’ll be PSG that come out on top. As previously mentioned the absence of Hegerberg has seen Lyon step down one rung and that is the difference between these two major players in the women’s game, a PSG title win being seen as an upset really given that the last fourteen have gone the way of Lyon! Will this remarkable run come to an end tomorrow night?