KEIR RADNEDGE in CARDIFF —- Lyon central defender Wendie Renard took captain’s responsibility for telling keeper Sarah Bouhaddi to take the penalty which proved decisive in the shootout victory over Paris Saint-Germain in the UEFA Women’s Champions League Final.
The shootout had entered the sudden death stage in the Cardiff City stadium after the French rivals had played out 120 goalless minutes.
Lyon coach Gerard Precheur had been criticised during the championship when he sent Bouhaddi to take a penalty. But he explained: “That was not a sign of disrespect to the opposition as people said. It was so she had the experience in a match when it mattered.”
Hence, at 5-5 in Cardiff, Renard took charge. She said later: “I told him to do it although there was still Kadeisha (Buchanan), Claire (Lavogez) and Pauline (Bremer). I saw the PSG goalkeeper go to take their next kick so I told Sarah to shoot herself because I knew she would put it in the bottom corner. That’s what she always does in training!
Bouhaddi said: “I took my responsibility like everyone else. We had three left to take kicks. Wendie looked at me and told me to go. They know that in training, I take them rather well – if I say so myself.”
Precheur, for whom this was a last game in charge of the joint four-times record European champions, acknowledged it had been a difficult game between two teams who know each other almost too well.
He said: “It was a very tough and tense game. We thought it would work in our favour the longer the match went on because we were the stronger team physically and spent more time in the opponents half.
“Our forwards had it tough though. We thought Alex Morgan was fit but we had to substitute her after 20 minutes. Then Ada Hegerberg had had some stomach problems and could not play the whole match either.
“I still believe it was a good showcase for women’s football.
“You know it’s quite complicated to manage 26 international players but, at the end, the only thing that counts is the result.”
For all the key roles played by Renard and Bouhaddi, Lyon’s German playmaker Dzsenifer Marozsan was Player of the Match.