One of the biggest rivalries in women's soccer ended in a historic win for Paris Saint-Germain as they defeated Olympique Lyonnais on Saturday 1-0. Lyon's loss to their French rivals loss away to rivals ended a four year undefeated run in Division 1 Féminine.
PSG set the tone immediately. They pressed Lyon early, forcing turnovers and then connecting on quick attacks going the other direction. Lyon ultimately weren't able to find any answers and PSG won a historic victory that was as deserved as it was surprising.
The match, played behind closed doors at the Parc des Princes, which is usually reserved for the PSG men's team, was the first between the two sides since their UEFA women's Champions League semifinal. Lyon entered the contest sitting atop the league standings with PSG trailing behind them by only one point. The ever dominant Lyon were dealing with injuries to key players in Griedge Mbock, and Ada Hegerberg who was rehabbing from a stress fracture in her left tibia. Despite the injuries though, Lyon's starting eleven still consisted of world class superstars but it was clear from kickoff that they were struggling to control PSG.
Lyon's midfield, for example, certainly wasn't lacking for star quality, but Amandine Henry, Sumi Kumagai, and Dzsenifer Marozsán struggled to both contain PSG and facilitate a Lyon attack that focused on controlling the ball and playing out of the back, despite PSG's early commitment to pressing the away side. The result was a Lyon attack that was frequently disjointed, and unable to create the kinds of golden chances they usually build with ease.
The PSG attack, featuring Marie-Antoinette Katoto, Sandy Baltimore and Kadidiatou Diani didn't create all that much either but Diani and Kadidiatou did combine for the only goal of the match when Diani threaded a crafty ball through to Katoto who waltzed the ball past Lyon defenders and into the back of the net. Take a look at how the goal unfolded as Katoto continues her run and drags the goal keeper to get a shot off, forcing the recovering defender off balance.
In addition to the midfield struggles, Lyon failed to respond to the early goal as Japanese international Kumagai earned a yellow card just minutes later and then long time Lyon striker Eugénie Le Sommer was subbed out with an injury in the 29th minute. In fact, it was PSG that continued to attack, as Baltimore dominated the flank, torching Ellie Carpenter, keeping the favorites from taking control of the match.
The substitutions that Lyon were forced into were also not much help. Nikita Parris and Sara Gunnarsdóttir came on in the 29th and 69th minute respectively but did not provide much impact. Parris was able to get into some dangerous spaces but, as with the rest of her team, struggled to break through on goal. Gunnarsdóttir replaced Amel Majri, who had been active for Lyon but was perhaps ultimately subbed out as a precaution, and failed to make much of an impact. Despite being down a goal all that Lyon were really able to muster in the second half were a couple of yellow cards as a steady PSG backline aided by smart set piece goal keeping from Cristiane Endler ultimately closed out the historic win.
Overall the match turned into a cagey defensive affair which is exactly what PSG wanted after taking the early lead. The home team had less of the ball in dangerous areas but turned that possession into more chances, taking eight shots to Lyon's six, and seeing their expected goal edge of 0.42 to 0.28 reflected in the final score line.
PSG now sit atop the league standings with a one point margin ahead of Lyon at 25 total points. PSG will face Lyon away in March 2021.