Did last-place FC Metz ever really stand a chance in this one? No, not really. But Lyon have always emphasized that it’s important to take every opponent seriously, and they did just that on Saturday. The 5-0 win keeps OL in first place, two points ahead of PSG, as the showdown between the top two draws nearer.
It was an unusual starting XI for les Fenottes, with Lisa Weiß in net; a back four of Selma Bacha, Saki Kumagai, Wendie Renard, and Carolin Simon; Jessica Fishlock and Dzsenifer Marozsan holding down central midfield, with Delphine Cascarino and Shanice van de Sanden on the wings; and Ada Hegerberg and Emelyne Laurent up front.Some of the changes were simply to cycle the lineup ahead of midweek Champions League action—Sarah Bouhaddi and Griedge Mbock were available on the bench, and Amel Majri entered the game in the second half—but injuries have also started to pile up for Lyon. Amandine Henry is still making her way back from the clavicle injury suffered on international duty, while Lucy Bronze, Izzy Christiansen, and Eugénie Le Sommer were all unavailable with what hockey folks would refer to as lower body injuries.
While the health of the squad might be more troubling on Wednesday, Metz weren’t in any position to make Lyon pay for shuffling the lineup. Ada Hegerberg got the scoring started early with a 7th minute goal. A perfect feed from Dzsenifer Marozsan in her own defensive half found Shanice van de Sanden ahead of everyone down the right wing. Van de Sanden eased the ball to Hegerberg, with plenty of room, and she slotted it past the goalkeeper for the early lead.Two minutes later Lyon were on the board again and it looked like Metz were in for a long afternoon. Again Marozsan steered an excellent pass through the defense, this time finding Hegerberg at the top of the box. Three defenders surrounded the Norwegian, but she unselfishly nudged the ball over to a wide open Emelyne Laurent, and the teenager didn’t miss her chance.
After last week’s 11-0 shellacking at the hands of Montpellier and down two goals inside 10 minutes, Metz had to be dreading another double digit loss. But the unfamiliar personnel seemed to take its toll, finally, and OL lost its rhythm for the remainder of the half. After the lightning quick start, it was something of a disappointment for OL to take just a 2-0 lead into the locker room at the break.
The second half was better as Lyon scored three positively delightful goals. The first came off a free kick in the 55th minute. Carolin Simon swung the ball toward the box from just inside the halfway line. Wendie Renard, a head taller than anyone remotely in the vicinity, nodded the ball to Hegerberg. The striker controlled the ball from her chest down to her right foot and launched it into the back of the net. Quality touches all around.
Hegerberg was involved yet again as Lyon scored their fourth in the 62nd minute. Delphine Cascarino brought the ball down the right side, and with the defense backing off she passed to Hegerberg at the top of the box before continuing her run. Hegerberg fed the ball back to Cascarino with an outrageous little nutmeg pass that will be giving her defender nightmares for weeks. With the one-two complete, Cascarino took three touches and fired the ball into the roof of the net.
Finally, the season of Amel Majri continued, as she wasn’t about to let a little thing like coming off the bench stop her from getting on the score sheet. In the 80th minute, Selma Bacha, playing on the right wing, swung one of her trademark cross field bombs toward Majri. The defender misjudged the pass and ran right by Majri, leaving the winger far too much room to dribble into the box and beat the keeper to the near post. Easy.
The game finished 5-0, and while it wasn’t a picture perfect match, the strong performance of Hegerberg and 90 good minutes from Maro are clearly positive takeaways. The team can now resume preparations for the Champions League return match on Wednesday, which fingers crossed will include some high profile returns from injury.Player of the Match goes to Ada Hegerberg for her two-goal, two-assist performance. If you’ve been waiting for a match to remind you why Hegerberg is one of the best strikers in the world, this was it. Sublime touches, plenty of power. . . she was simply too much for the Metz defense to handle. Her performance even caught the eye of OL men’s team right back Rafael, who commented on Ada’s Instagram post, “Goal machine I want to score just 1% like you do” (“Ey, me too…” commented Ada’s sister Andrine).Checking in on action around D1 Féminine: Are Bordeaux starting to crash back to Earth? After their hot start to the season catapulted them into third place, they’ve suddenly gone three games without a goal and their 5-0 loss to Paris FC was by far their biggest defeat of the season. They could sure use Mylaine Tarrieu back and healthy and scoring goals any time now. Meanwhile, Paris FC have turned things around under the direction of new coach Sandrine Soubeyrand, and now find themselves in third place after three straight wins.
Montpellier failed to convert last week’s 11-0 win into a wave of momentum, drawing 1-1 with Lille. Fleury and Soyaux also split the points in a 1-1 draw, as did Dijon and Rodez. Second place PSG didn’t make it easy, but a goal from Marie-Antoinette Katoto gave the capital side a 1-0 win over Guingamp to keep them within two points of Lyon.
Up next is a midweek Champions League matchup at home against Ajax. Lyon are working with a four-goal advantage, but they always like to put on a show for the home fans, so we’ll keep our fingers crossed for plenty of goals. Kickoff is Wednesday, October 31, at 19h00 local time (2 p.m ET / 11 a.m. PT). Note that France has changed its clocks back, but the U.S.A. hasn’t when you’re calculating start times.
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Photos by SN Ternay (@SyNTernay)