The Championship game boasted several Women’s World Cup players and World Champions players. Lyon started off the game kicking from left to right. They looked bright in the earlier minutes as Lucy Bronze stormed down the right side into the Courage’s box only to see her shot bounce off a Courage defender.

The Courage started to settle in the game and looked to dominate the middle through Crystal Dunn, who played a superb through ball in the box only to see Lynn Williams closed down. Lyon responded well as Le Sommer was fouled on the top of the box following a corner which resulted in another corner which the Courage defended well.

The Courage looked confident as Dunn played a superb ball to Jaelene Hinkle only to see her cross cut out. Dunn continued to dictate the play in the middle and played another quality pass to Williams who then spread it out wide to Debinha. She played a beautiful cross which forced goalkeeper Sarah Bouhaddi to step off her line and save it.

The newly signed Nikita Parris and North Carolina’s Hinkle continued to battle down the wing which allowed Parris to play another great cross inside the box which was dealt with the ever-present Erceg.

In the 20′ minute, it was Williams’ turn to test the Lyon backline by breaking down the left side and playing a sitter to Duun who mishit it. Parris broke down the middle and played a beautiful ball to Dzsenifer Marozsán who returned a sitter which Parris took brilliantly, forcing keeper Stephanie Labbé into a fine save. Hinkle and Debinha combined brilliantly to send Kristen Hamilton on goal and forced a brilliant save from Labbé. The half ended with Dunn again playing a fine pass to Sam Mewis who fired inches from the left post. Crystal Dunn and Nikita Parris were most definitely the standouts from the first half.

After the break, Lyon quickly broke down the right side forcing the Courage into conceding a corner kick. The French couldn’t convert as Amel Majri fired wide. The Courage quickly broke down the other end with some great footwork from Hamilton which forced Bouhaddi to make a save on her line. The NWSL club almost found the net after a brilliant through ball from Hamilton that forced Bouhaddi off her line again.

Lyon took the lead on the next play after they broke down the right side which left Marozsán open on top of the box. She curled a beautiful shot in the top corner as the Courage felt hard done, as they felt they should’ve had a corner on the other end.

The Courage continued to try and get something in attack. Dunn, Hamilton, and Merritt Mathias played some neat 1:2 which allowed Hamilton to break on goal only to have her cross deflected for a corner. In the 90′ minute, the Courage tried to break level but Lyon was resolute in defending. They had one final opportunity after Hinkle was fouled on the left of the opponent’s box which resulted in a free-kick. North Carolina would fail to convert as the setpiece was defended very well by Lyon. The French Giants were able to see the game out and win the 2019 Women’s International Champions Cup.


-Mike Brown

Photo: Courtesy of Lyon social media

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