- Lyon favourites for Wednesday’s all-French semi-final in Bilbao
- ‘We will give everything one more time’ says PSG’s Grace Geyoro
“We no longer suffer as before,” insisted Paris Saint-Germain’s Grace Geyoro before Wednesday’s showdown with Lyon in the Women’s Champions League semi-final. She should know.
The France midfielder has played 10 matches against Lyon since coming through the academy at PSG and only tasted victory once – in the 2018 French Cup final. But despite three defeats already this season to their perennial rivals including the penalty shootout loss in the French Cup final on 9 August following a tense stalemate, Geyoro is confident Olivier Echouafni’s side can spring a surprise against the team who have won the past four Champions Leagues.
“We know Lyon well and they also know us,” she said. “We will give everything one more time. We must try to play our game and continue to build on the basis of the final of the Coupe de France, trying to do better and hoping that this time we achieve qualification. We know that in these big games the small details matter a lot. It will be a real fight, as always against Lyon, and we will prepare well for this match.”
Lyon’s dominance of the competition means they have not been beaten since a surprise last-16 defeat by PSG in November 2014, having swept past Barcelona in the final last year to seal a sixth title. But PSG’s Danish striker Signe Bruun believes the team assembled by former Marseille and Nice midfielder Echouafni has a better opportunity than ever to end their losing streak.
“We know what they are capable of but we believe we have a chance because we are in really great shape right now,” she said. “We have world-class players in every position and we’re going to give everything we can to get the win.”
Bruun is expected to partner the teenager Jordyn Huitema in attack, with the Canada forward hoping to emulate her long-term boyfriend, Alphonso Davies, by winning a Champions League title after his success with Bayern Munich’s men’s team.
England’s Nikita Parris is expected to start for Lyon after recovering from injury following her goal against Bayern in the quarter-final, and the striker Amandine Henry could be involved after a fitness test on Tuesday. The goalkeeper Sarah Bouhaddi revealed she had been practising saving penalties given that their first meeting of the season back in September also ended in a shootout but shared her manager’s optimism that Lyon would yet again come through a difficult test.
“It’s true that our three previous games against PSG were close – these are matches that are always very tactical,” she said. “Tomorrow is another game and we will try to do the same again. We know what to do, we know our project. The objective is to win this trophy.”
“We are title holders,” said the Lyon coach, Jean-Luc Vasseur. “Keeping this series alive drives us. There is always a degree of uncertainty in football, but our will is to put our title on the line and win it again. The mental aspect is paramount in these kinds of matches. I felt it during the three confrontations with PSG. We feel strong and we feel ready. It is up to us to exploit their weaknesses.”