After an evenly matched game at Sahlen’s Stadium, it was Olympique Lyonnais Feminine who managed to secure a spot in the final of the Women’s International Champions Cup after beating Atletico de Madrid Femenino 1-0.
Leading up to the match, most thought it would be the UEFA Women’s Champions League winners who would come out in full force dominating the game as they usually do but a calm and articulate Spanish side gave them a good challenge.
Right from the start of the match, it was clear the French club was taking their pre-season preparation very seriously and they were all over their opponents controlling all of the game.
Forwards Ada Hegerberg, Eugenie LeSommer and Nikita Paris were all linking up very well up top and each had their chances to grab an early lead yet none of the shots found the back of the net.
As the match carried on, Jose Vera ’s side eventually found their footing and gave Lyon a good challenge on the pitch despite being tournament debutants.
It was obvious Atletico Madrid were approaching the game with a particular plan in mind and every move on the ball was pre-determined before it was completed, contrasting Lyon’s reactive style of play.
They were able to move the ball strategically when testing their opponent's defence and did well to reach wingers Toni Duggan and Ludmila da Silva to push the game forward.
As both teams continued to try and score the first goal of the game, it was the performances from the keepers Sarah Bouhaddi and Danielle Gallardo that kept the game level 0-0 at halftime.
Heading into the second half with no goals, both sides made attacking substitutions which resulted in neither team slowing down even admits the humid weather.
The Spanish club continued to hold their own yet the level of difficulty from the UEFA Women’s Champions League holders proved to be too much.
With the clock running down and penalties looming, there was limited time for either side to put away the winning goal. However, it was Lyon’s Lucy Bronze who found the opportunity to give her team one last chance.
After finding an open lane and drive into the box, Bronze was fouled and drew a free kick in the process. Her teammate Amel Majri stepped up to take the shot but it deflected off Atletico’s strong wall and went out for a corner.
With the clock now heading into the 91st minute, Atletico Madrid had done well to keep the game at 0-0 but a trademark header from Lyon captain Wendie Renard made the game 1-0 all but solidifying her team’s spot in the final.
Both teams return to WakeMed Soccer Park on August 18th where Atletico Madrid will play at 5:00 p.m. EST for third place and Olympique Lyonnais play at 7:30 EST for the title.