Friday, June 02, 2017

Cheers and tears

In years to come, Stanley will hopefully be proud to proclaim that the first ever professional football game he went to was a Champions League final, but he actually spent much of the second half of last night's match playing a jigsaw game on Jen's phone.

In truth, the women's final between Lyon and PSG, at the Cardiff City Stadium a mere ten minutes' walk from our house, wasn't exactly thrill-a-minute stuff - more a cagey affair in which the passing was crisp and the defences were impressive (with Lyon and France captain Wendie Renard exceptional) but the pace was a bit laboured and there wasn't a great deal to get excited about in either penalty area over the course of 120 minutes.

However, the penalty shoot-out - which took place at our end - was worth the bargain £6 entry fee alone. At 6-6 in sudden death, PSG's Polish 'keeper Katarzyna Kiedrzynek - who had saved her side's bacon several times during the game and had then made a stunning save to tip a spot kick onto the post and bar - skewed her own penalty horribly wide and was then unable to prevent her opposite number Sarah Bouhaddi from scoring to win the trophy.

Lyon's achievement is astonishing: a second successive treble, and only a fortnight after they beat PSG in the French Cup final - also 7-6 on penalties. But they perhaps didn't receive the acclaim they deserved from the crowd, because those of us in the Grange Stand had sided with underdogs PSG and their raucous fans down in the lower corner, and it was the sight of an inconsolable Kiedrzynek collecting her runners-up medal and approaching the PSG supporters drew the biggest applause of the night.

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