Soccer

Kumagai penalty helps secure Champions League title for Lyon

Kyodo

Nadeshiko Japan defender Saki Kumagai helped Olympique Lyonnais capture their third Champions League title on Thursday after she put in a player-of-the-match performance and converted the final spot kick to clinch a 4-3 shootout victory against Wolfsburg following a 1-1 draw.

Kumagai, who scored the title-deciding penalty for Japan five years ago at the Women’s World Cup against the United States, made her presence felt in the defensive midfield and was nerveless in dispatching her decisive penalty, sending her shot to the ‘keeper’s left as Lyon’s fifth taker.

Lyon claimed the title for the first time in four years and won the season treble, having already won the French league and cup.

“I wasn’t nervous at all. I never felt I would miss,” Kumagai said. “I thought ‘Wow, another massive one for me.’ I could see the ‘keeper (jumping) the other way.”

Ada Hegerberg handed Lyon the lead with a 12th-minute tap in but Alexandra Popp’s header two minutes from time drew Wolfsburg level to take it to extra time, before Kumagai captured her first Champions League title in her fifth season in Europe.

“It’s a new feeling, a different kind of joy compared to that with the national team. I’m really happy we got the win,” said the 25-year-old.