Barcelona retains Women's Champions League crown and achieves quadruple of trophies

Sat, May 25, 2024
Soccer News (AP)

Barcelona retains Women's Champions League crown and achieves quadruple of trophies

BILBAO, Spain (AP) - Barcelona ended its losing streak against Lyon to clinch its third Women's Champions League title in four years on Saturday.

World player of the year Aitana Bonmati scored in the second half and former world player Alexia Putellas added a second deep in stoppage time for defending champion Barcelona to win 2-0 in front of a record crowd of 50,827 for a final.

Barcelona lost the two previous finals it played against the French side and all four of its previous matches against Lyon, which remains the most successful club in the women's game with eight European trophies.

Victory gave Barcelona a quadruple of trophies: Champions league, Spanish league, Copa de la Reina and the Spanish Super Cup.

"This is what we worked so hard for," Putellas said. "We are super happy to have won these four titles."

Barcelona added to its Women's Champions League titles in 2021 and 2023 in its fourth consecutive final.

"We knew we needed to be a club that made history," Barcelona defender Lucy Bronze said. "It's not easy, it's hard to win it once, but to do it back to back, Lyon showed how difficult it is. This team's finally done that. We go down in history as one of the best teams in Europe."

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The women's triumph comes amid continued turmoil in the men's team, which hasn't succeeded in Europe recently and saw player great Xavi Hernandez leave as the coach on Saturday. Club president Joan Laporta, who sacked Xavi, celebrated the title with the women at the medal ceremony.

Their success follows Spain's triumphs last year in the Women's World Cup and the inaugural Women's Nations League.

It felt like a home match for Barcelona as its fans occupied most of the seats at San Mames Stadium in Basque Country.

It was an even match from the start, with neither team creating many significant scoring opportunities. Lyon hit the woodwork and goalkeeper Christiane Endler made easy saves at the other end.

Lyon was able to keep Bonmati in check during most of the match, but she broke through with the opening goal with a nice run into the area before firing a left-footed shot past Endler in the 63rd minute. The ball deflected off the leg of Lyon defender Vanessa Gilles. Bonmati was named the player of the match.

"Today is a historic day that we will never forget," Bonmati said.

Putellas came off the bench in stoppage time and scored a few moments later. She celebrated by taking off her jersey and running toward the fans.

Lyon coach Sonia Bompastor, the first woman to win the Women's Champions League as a player and coach, was trying to become the first woman to win two titles as a coach.

Lyon was playing in its 11th final in 15 seasons, and was seeking its first title since it beat Barcelona in the 2022 final. The French club also defeated Barcelona in the 2019 final. It won five titles in a row from 2016-20.

"I'm very emotional. No one likes to lose a final. You're here to win it," Lyon defender Danielle van de Donk said. "It's a shame you don't create enough. Barcelona overtook the game, and they kind of deserved the win. 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."

Barcelona became the third club with three Women's Champions League titles, behind the eight of Lyon and the four of Eintracht Frankfurt.

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TALES AZZONI Azzoni is a sports reporter based in Madrid in charge of Spain and Portugal for The Associated Press. He has covered multiple World Cups and Olympic Games for the AP, as well as other major sporting events worldwide. twitter mailto "
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