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Kumagai's Lyon into European final despite Ji heroics

Sunday, April 28, 2019
Saki Kumagai-Lyon-AFP

London: Japan captain Saki Kumagai will feature in a fourth consecutive UEFA Women's Champions League Final, with her Olympique Lyonnais side defeating Chelsea 3-2 on aggregate after the second leg of their semi-final finished 1-1 on Sunday.

In their eighth European final in 10 seasons, Lyon will meet Barcelona in Budapest on May 18 after qualifying by denying a Chelsea side for whom Korea Republic's Ji So-yun played a starring role and scored a superb free-kick.

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Kumagai, who appeared as substitute in the second leg, now has the chance to win her fourth consecutive Champions League title; part of an ever-expanding haul of winners' medals which includes the 2011 FIFA Women's World Cup and AFC Women's Asian Cup Jordan 2018.

The French outfit carried a 2-1 lead after last weekend's first leg, and it was the visitors who scored first in the second fixture, with French star Eugenie Le Sommer scoring a deflected opener in the 17th minute.

Up, over and in! 💫

Ji's goal has got us back in this semi-final! 💪 #CFCOL

— Chelsea FC Women (@ChelseaFCW) April 28, 2019

A moment of brilliance from Ji brought Chelsea back into the tie, as the 2013 AFC Women's Player of the Year curled in a superb free-kick to continue a stellar individual season, and make it 3-2 on aggregate in the 33rd minute.

Ji's goal was her second in a Champions League semi-final, following her strike in Chelsea's 5-1 aggregate defeat against Germany's Wolfsburg last season.

On va à Budapest ! 💪🏻🔴🔵 #CFCOL

— OL Féminin (@OLfeminin) April 28, 2019

An action-packed second half saw both sides create a flurry of chances, but neither was able to find the net, leaving Lyon to celebrate yet another trip the biggest club fixture in European women's club football.

Earlier on Sunday, Australian head coach Joe Montemurro's Arsenal side sealed the FA Women's Super League title for the first time since 2012 with a 4-0 win away to Brighton.

Montemurro's successful spell with the North London giants follows a trophy-laden term with hometown club Melbourne City, where he won three trophies in two seasons.

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