An incredible night at the Groupama Stadium saw us achieve a resounding 5-1 victory against the reigning Champions League champions, Lyon.
A double-double from Beth Mead and Caitlin Foord, plus another goal from Frida Maanum was all it took to score the most goals ever against Olympique Lyonnais Feminin on their home turf.
Undeterred by the occasion, we started on the front foot against the French giants. After only a minute played, Caitlin Foord cleverly played Frida Maanum into the box, who had our first shot on target. Maanum, in her first start this season, flourished in the number 10 role from the first whistle right through to the last.
We took advantage of the host’s nervy start after 12 minutes, as a lofted ball from Kim Little found Mead in plenty of space down the right wing. Her teasing cross into the box found Foord inside the penalty spot who rifled past Christiane Endler to give us the lead.
Our early goal jolted Lyon into action and they eventually found some rhythm in their attack, but other than a long-range effort from Janice Cayman flying over the crossbar, they did little to threaten Manu Zinsberger's goal.
It was thanks to Lia Walti’s vision in midfield that we bagged another goal shortly after our first, as she spotted Blackstenius' well-timed run through the lines. The Swedish striker sped into the penalty box and though Endler stopped her initial strike, the rebound landed right at Maanum’s feet, who slotted in the bottom right-hand corner with an ice-cold finish.
Once again, the French champions responded aggressively to us getting on the scoresheet, but this time, their immediate pressure paid off. A corner whipped in from the left was eventually bundled in by Melvine Malard just before the half-hour mark.
Our aggressive, triangulating press continued to bear fruit and in one instance, Mead caught Lindsey Horan napping in her own half and stole the ball right from under her nose.
Minutes before half-time, Wendie Renard clipped Blackstenius on a marauding run into the box and the challenge earned the French captain a booking. From the resulting free-kick, Mead lined up to drive the ball low into the corner past Endler’s outstretched hand to give us a 3-1 lead at the break
The second half proceeded to open up, with both sides enjoying creative spells in the opposition's half. Laura Wienroither at right back continued to read the Lyon attack impeccably, cutting out their searching hrough balls and timing her tackles to perfection.
A wayward pass from Renard in her own half then gifted Caitlin Foord the ball with acres of space on the edge of the area. The Australian forward took a composed touch before unleashing a delicate strike into the top right corner.
But we weren't done there, and less than a minute later Mead pounced for her second goal of the night, capping off a confident and complete team performance under the lights that places us firmly on top of Group C.
What it means
We're back in European action next Thursday, as we host FC Zurich at the Emirates Stadium. Tickets for the clash can still be purchased here.
Before then, we head to Prenton Park to face Liverpool, aiming to maintain our unbeaten run in this season's Women's Super League.
Starting XI: Zinsberger, Wienroither, Wubben-Moy, Catley, McCabe, Little (C), Walti ('76), Maanum, Mead, Blackstenius ('79), Foord ('79)
Substitutes: Marckese, Williams, Beattie, Maritz, Reid, Nobbs ('76), Miedema ('79), Iwabuchi, Hurtig ('79), Agyemang
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