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Japan’s Kumagai reaches UEFA Women’s Champions League final with Lyon

Monday, April 30, 2018
Japan's Saki Kumagai

Décines-Charpieu: Just a week after lifting the AFC Women’s Asian Cup with Japan, Saki Kumagai has helped guide Olympique Lyonnais to a third successive UEFA Women’s Champions League Final.

The 2017 AFC Women’s Player of the Year runner-up played the full 90 minutes as her side defeated Manchester City thanks to a single Lucy Bronze goal in the second leg of their semi-final, to advance to the May 24 showpiece against VfL Wolfsburg in Kiev with a 1-0 aggregate victory.

Kumagai, who missed last weekend’s first leg due to her international commitments in Jordan, is now one match away from claiming European women’s club football’s highest honour for a third season in a row.

The 27-year-old played a key role in the 2016 final, also against Wolfsburg, when she was voted player of the match and scored the winning penalty in her side’s shootout victory.

Korea Republic playmaker Ji So-yun was on the verge of the joining Kumagai in next month’s final, but her Chelsea side suffered a 2-0 second leg defeat to fall 5-1 on aggregate against Wolfsburg.

Ji scored Chelsea’s goal in the first leg, and played 76 minutes in Sunday’s return fixture, but the English club were eliminated at the semi-final stage in what was their best ever showing in the tournament. 

Photos: AFP