23 March 2022
The dream continues. Juventus Women produced another memorable performance to write another chapter in this incredible European adventure. Despite being outplayed and trailing by a goal in the first half, the Bianconere turned the match on its head in the second 45 minutes. Goals from Cristiana Girelli and Agnese Bonfantini gave Juve a crucial 2-1 advantage to take to Lyon next week.
Joe Montemurro had warned that he expected a strong start from Lyon, but no one expected such a lightning move from kick-off. With not even a minute on the clock, the pace of Delphine Cascarino, which would be one of the major themes of the first half, outstripped the Juventus defence. Her cut back found Catarina Macario unmarked inside the penalty area. The midfielder fired her shot over the bar.
After the initial let off for Juve, the early match nerves also affected the visitors. Experienced goalkeeper Sarah Bouhaddi drove her attempted clearance at her captain Wendie Renard. The ball rebounded to Lina Hurtig, who found herself one on one with Bouhaddi. The Juve number 17 took aim, but dragged her shot agonisingly wide of the far post.
ON THE ROPES
After the shock opening, both sides continued to look unsettled and it was Lyon that took advantage. A move down the right, again from Cascarino, resulted in Selma Bacha finding possession inside the area. Her cross from the bye-line was met by Macario, whose header sailed past Pauline Peyraud-Magnin.
The seven-time champions took confidence from the goal on eight minutes and, with Damaris Egurrola directing play in midfield, looked to add to their advantage.
The Bianconere stood firm, however. Peyraud-Magnin reached a dangerous cross to finger tip the ball away from Melvine Malard, just as the striker was ready to pounce.
A minute later, Cristiana Girelli cleared the ball off the line as Malard watched the ball roll towards the empty net. The referee’s assistant raised her flag, but Girelli’s commitment sparked a sense of belief in her teammates, as they finished the first half on the front foot.
THE TURNING MOMENT
The second half was another story altogether. Juventus reemerged transformed. Martina Rosucci made an important block three minutes into the second half, showing the grit and determination that would be displayed by every Bianconere player in an incredible second period.
The turning point came on 62 minutes. Valentina Cernoia, appearing more herself after a quiet first half, stole the ball from Ellie Carpenter at the half-way line. Carpenter brought the Juve midfielder to the ground, and was shown a straight red card.
Cernoia almost took immediate advantage as from the free-kick the ball found the number seven, whose left-foot effort crashed off the crossbar.
Both coaches made substitutions at the midway point of the second half but it was Coach Montemurro’s that would turn out to be game changing.
Barbara Bonansea and Arianna Caruso replaced Martina Rosucci and Julia Grosso to freshen up the midfield. Both were involved straight away in the move that led to the equaliser. Bonansea fed Matilde Lundorf down the right. Lundorf did well to keep the ball in play before releasing a dangerous cross. Bouhaddi seemed to be in control of the situation but dropped the ball when she collided with Caruso. A grateful Girelli swept the ball into the unguarded net.
Now the momentum was with the hosts and with 20 minutes to play the belief they could complete the comeback was palpable.
And again the inspiration came from the bench. Agnese Bonfantini replaced goalscorer Girelli on 81’. Two minutes later the fans couldn’t believe their eyes as Caruso played a defence-splitting pass. Bonfantini arrived first to place her shot beyond Bouhaddi for Juve’s second.
The turnaround was complete and a chance to extend the advantage arrived with three minutes of normal time to play. Bonansea raced in behind the Lyon defence, now in disarray, but with just the keeper to beat drove her shot at the advancing Bouhaddi.
The Bianconere saw out the eight minutes of stoppage time to record a historic victory. Lyon were defeated for only the third time in 41 Champions League matches.
The dream continues next Thursday with the second leg in Lyon.
UEFA Women’s Champions League – Quarter Finals – First Leg
Allianz Stadium – Torino
JUVENTUS 2-1 OLYMPIQUE LYONNAIS (HT: 0-1)
SCORERS: 8’ Macario (OL), 71’ Girelli (J), 83’ Bonfantini (J)
Peyraud-Magnin; Lundorf, Gama, Sembrant, Boattin; Rosucci, Pedersen, Rosucci (66’ Bonansea), Grosso (66’ Caruso); Hurtig (90’+1 Staskova), Girelli (81’ Bonfantini), Cernoia (90’+1Nilden).
Subs not used: Aprile, Forcinella, Panzeri, Hyyrynen, Zamanian, Panzeri, Lenzini.
Bouhaddi; Buchanan, Renard, Mbock Bathy; Carpenter, Egurrola, Macario (67’ Cayman), Henry (76’ Horan), Bacha (76’ Marozsan); Cascarino (85’ Laurent), Malard.
Subs not used: Paljevic, Holmgren, Morroni, Gunnarsdottir, Hegerberg, Sombath, Benyahia,
Assistants: O’Neill, Rashid
Fourth Official: Welch
VAR: Massey, Tierny
BOOKINGS: 88’ Bonfantini (J), 90’+1 Bonansea (J)
SENDINGS OFF: Carpenter 62’ (OL)