“We don’t suffer like we used to,” insisted Grace Geyoro of Paris Saint-Germain before Wednesday’s showdown with Lyon in the Women’s Champions League semi-final. He should know.
The France midfielder has played 10 games against Lyon since joining PSG and has only won once, in the 2018 French Cup final. But despite three defeats already this season against their perennial rivals, including defeat at penalties in the French Cup final on 9 August following a stalemate, Geyoro is confident that Olivier Echouafni’s side can make a surprise against the team that have won the last four Champions League.
“We know Lyon well and they know us too,” he said. “We will give it all once again. We have to try to make our game and keep building on the basis of the Coupe de France final, trying to do better and hoping that this time we reach qualification. We know that in these great games, 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 in the competition means they haven’t been beaten since the surprise loss to PSG in the round of 16 in November 2014, after beating Barcelona in last year’s final to seal their sixth title. But PSG’s Danish striker Signe Bruun believes the squad assembled by former Marseille and Nice midfielder Echouafni has a better chance than ever to end the losing streak.
“We know what they are capable of, but we believe we have a chance because we are in really good shape right now,” he said. “We have world-class players in every position and we will give everything we can to win.”
Bruun is expected to team up with teenager Jordyn Huitema in attack, with the Canadian forward hoping to emulate his longtime boyfriend, Alphonso Davies, by winning a Champions League title following his success with the Bayern Munich men’s team.
England’s Nikita Parris is expected to leave for Lyon after recovering from injury following a goal against Bayern in the quarter-finals, and striker Amandine Henry could be involved after a fitness test on Tuesday. Goalkeeper Sarah Bouhaddi revealed that they practiced partial penalties as their first match of the season in September also ended in a shootout, but shared her manager’s optimism that Lyon would once again pass a difficult test.
“It is true that our previous three games against PSG were close: they have always been very tactical games,” he said. “Tomorrow is another match and we will try to do the same again. We know what to do, we know our project. The goal is to win this trophy. “
“We are title holders,” said Lyon manager Jean-Luc Vasseur. “Keeping this series alive drives us. There is always a certain degree of uncertainty in football, but our will is to put our title on the line and win it again. The mental aspect is fundamental in this type of games. I felt it during the three matches with PSG. We feel strong and we feel ready. It is up to us to exploit their weaknesses. “