Water break It’s really warm in Turin, almost 30 degrees, and the players are having a drink.
28 min There’s the second one!
27 min This is pulsating stuff. It’s not going to end 2-0, I’ll tell you that for nothing.
25 min Hegerberg almost makes it three! Paredes played a dreadful, short backpass that was collected by Hegerberg. She tried to go round the outrushing Panos, who lunged feet first to make a vital tackle. Barcelona are a bag of nerves in defence.
It was another high-class goal from Lyon. The indefatigable Bacha played a slick one-two with Malard on the left and arced a beautiful cross towards the far post. The keeper Panos didn’t know whether to stick or twist, and Hegerberg pulled away from Leon to head into the net with utter certainty. She’s done it to Barcelona again!
There might be panic now: Lyon have gone 2-0 up!
22 min Barcelona can’t have gone behind too often in the last couple of seasons. So far there have been no signs of panic or frustration, though that might change if it’s still 1-0 after an hour.
21 min “Couple early thoughts,” says Travis Giblin. “First, WHAT A STRIKE by Henry. As a card-carrying member of the Irish nation I struggle to cheer for any French player named Henry, but that was incredible. Also, in the lead up to the goal, what an effort by Hegerberg. She was clearly missed by Lyon last season.”
Yes, I was so distracted by Henry’s strike that I forgot to praise Hegerberg for holding the ball up in the first place. She did superbly.
20 min Hegerberg wafts a bouncing ball wide of goal from about 22 yards. Lyon aren’t having much of the ball but look dangerous when they do get it.
17 min “The WSL has come on leaps and bounds but these two teams are two steps ahead,” says Redmond Grimes. “It could be a while before we see the likes of Chelsea, Man City or Arsenal win this.”
Indeed. You’d think three years minimum, even with the money in the WSL.
15 min: Great defending from Bacha! Rolfo runs at the substitute Buchanan and drives a low cross towards Hermoso, whose attempted shot is blocked brilliantly by Bacha in the six-yard box. Barcelona have responded admirably to the shock of going behind.
14 min: Lyon substitution Poor Ellie Carpenter is stretchered off to be replaced by Kadeisha Buchanan.
13 min The Lyon right-back Ellie Carpenter is down and in a lot of pain. I think she twisted her knee, and at one stage she was slapping the ground in distress.
12 min Here’s that heatseeker from Amandine Henry. It seemed to float forever before rippling the far corner of the net.
11 min: Good save from Endler! Barcelona are starting to stir. Bonmati finds space on the left of the area and lays the ball back to Hermoso, who pokes a shot that is pawed away by Endler. My first thought was that Hermoso might have done better, though I’d like to see a replay before upbraiding her in a public forum.
10 min A half chance for Torrejon, who heads a left-wing corner over the bar from around 12 yards.
9 min “Dear sir,” writes the very polite Inka. “The husband and I were wondering why coaches and officials today wore bouquets on their lapels. Google didn’t throw up any answers, nor does it seem to be a holiday. Are Scots just way more fashionable than the rest of the world?”
Well yes, we are, but I’m afraid I don’t have a definite answer to the original question.
8 min Barcelona appealed for a foul on Putellas in the build-up, but it was a fair challenge from Henry. The rest was entirely preposterous.
Pick that out! It all started when Henry won a 50/50 with Putellas on the Lyon left, 35 yards from goal. Then she pushed the ball infield, into space, and launched a booming shot that beat the flying Panos and nestled in the far corner. What a fricking goal!
Amandine Henry gives Lyon the lead with an incredible goal!
3 min Cascarino beats Rolfo with ease on the right and stands up a cross that is headed off target by the backpedalling Malard. Lyon have made a fast start.
2 min Horan is fouled 35 yards from goal, which allows Lyon to send Renard and Mbock forward Bathy. In fact Bacha goes straight for goal, curling a few yards wide. Panos had it covered.
34 seconds Barcelona were 1-0 up at this stage last year.
1 min Peep peep! Lyon get the match under way, kicking from right to left as we watch.
The players pose for the pre-match photos, and then the captains Alexia Putellas and Wendie Renard go through the formalities. It’s time for the 2022 Champions League final!
A bit of domestic news
“According to the Barça Twitter account, the fans are singing their boring ‘Oh le le, Oh la la’ song,” begins Charles Antaki, “when this was a golden opportunity to actually use the ‘…. by far the greatest team the world has ever seen’ song with some degree of plausibility, at least as compared to it being sung by fans of, for example and with the greatest respect and so on, Watford.”
Thanks Will, hello everyone. Before the players emerge from the tunnel, let’s have a reminder of the teams.
Barcelona (4-3-3) Panos; Torrejon, Paredes, Leon, Rolfo; Bonmati, Guijarro, Putellas; Graham Hansen, Hermoso, Caldentey.
Substitutes: Font, Meritxell Munoz, Serrano, Pina, Ouahabi, Pereira, Crnogorcevic, Oshoala, Martens, Syrstad Engen.
Lyon (4-3-3) Endler; Carpenter, Renard, Mbock Bathy, Bacha Horan, Henry, Macario Cascarino, Hegerberg, Malard.
Substitutes: Bouhaddi, Holmgren, Morroni, Gunnarsdottir, Le Sommer, Egurrola, Van De Donk, Sombath, Laurent, Buchanan, Cayman, Benyahia.
Referee Lina Lehtovaara (Finland).
It’s been a pleasure, albeit a brief one, but it’s time to hand back over to Rob Smyth. He’s fresh from covering the Scottish Cup finalso go easy on him.
A refresher on how the finalists got here. Barcelona utterly bossed the group stage, winning all six games against Arsenal, Hoffenheim and Danish side HB Køge. They went on to beat Real Madrid 8-3 on aggregate in the quarter-finals, before a slightly tighter semi-final against Wolfsburg in which they won the first leg 5-1 but lost the second leg 2-0.
Lyon, meanwhile, won all but one of their games at the group stage, with a sole defeat inflicted by Bayern Munich. They squeezed past Juventus in the quarters, triumphing 4-3 on aggregate, before overcoming PSG, their domestic rivals, in the semis.
Along with the supporters who have traveled to Turin, the Blaugranes will be cheered on by thousands back home. A large crowd has gathered to watch the match on the Plaça de Catalunya in the center of Barcelona.
A reminder of how to watch the big game. It will be broadcast on ITV4, with coverage starting from 5.30pm. That’s in – oh, wow, is that the time? – just under two minutes.
As with the rest of the Women’s Champions League this season, it will also be available to stream live on DAZN’s YouTube channel. Just in case you’re Extremely Online and prefer that to watching on the television.
The warm-ups have begun, with Lyon taking to the field to put the final touches on their pre-match preparations.
The atmosphere is building at the Juventus Stadium. Barcelona fans have greeted the team coaches with smoke bombs and a sea of flags, while the stands are gradually filling up with supporters.
Speaking of pre-match interviews, Suzanne Wrack has been in conversation with Lyon’s Catarina Macario. The US international has the unenviable task of unlocking Barcelona’s defense tonight.
Will Magee here, temporarily filling in for Rob Smyth. If you’re looking for some pre-match reading, why not check out Emma Kemp’s interview with Ellie Carpenter? She’s starting at right-back for Lyon this evening.
… and here’s the Lyon starting XI.
Here’s how the reigning champions will line up this evening.
Suzanne Wrack’s match preview
Hello and welcome to live coverage of the Champions League final between Barcelona and Lyon in Turin. The best sport – the really, really, really good stuff – needs no hype or ballyhoo. This game can be summarized in less than 50 characters, never mind 140: the reigning champions v the perennial champions.
Lyon have won this tournament a record seven times including five in a row from 2016-20. But Barcelona succeeded them last year and go into tonight’s final as very strong favorites. Their record in all competitions this season is from the realms of fantasist football: P44 W43 D0 L1 F210 A19.
May I stop you there. Could you kindly go back and look at those numbers again: 44 games, 43 wins, TWO HUNDRED AND TEN GOALS! Their team includes Alexia Putellas, the best player in the world, as well as Jenni Hermoso, Caroline Hansen, Aitana Bonmatí and a load of other stars. When our expert panel voted for the 100 best female footballers in the world at the end of last year, six of the top 10 were Barcelona players.
This time last year they sliced and diced Chelsea in the final in Gothenburg, scoring all four goals in the first 36 minutes, and Lyon’s first job will be to get through the first 10 minutes unscathed.
Part of Barcelona’s journey (drink!) to the top was a 4-1 hammering by Lyon in the 2019 final. They were the victims of an even faster start that night, with all four goals coming in the first half-hour. That included a hat-trick from the great Ada Hegerberg, whose presence tonight could give the Barcelona defense the heebie-jeebies.
A win for Barcelona would complete their journey (drink!) from contenders to undisputed champions. In one fell swoop they can put 2019 to bed, retain the Champions League, beat Lyon for the first time in their history and prove, beyond even unreasonable doubt, that they are the world’s best team.
Lyon would love to make the picture a whole lot fuzzier. If they win, last season might be dismissed as a one-off rather than a changing of the guard. But for now, Lyon are in the unusual position of starting as underdogs. They are in the process of recovering from a miserable 2020-21, in which Paris Saint-Germain ended their long reigns as French and European champions (14 and five years respectively). Hegerberg missed the whole season with an ACL injury, so you could understand if Lyon put an asterisk against their underachievement.
Lyon got some revenge by beating PSG in this year’s Champions League semi-finals, and will regain the French title with a game to spare if they avoid defeat in Paris next weekend. It’s too early to say they are back to their best, but they are at least back where they belong – in a Champions League final.
Kick off 6pm.