D1 Féminine is officially on notice: les Fenottes are ready to run the table for another year. In the season opener away at Lille, Lyon got on the board early and never looked back en route to a 8-0 victory.
Ada Hegerberg opened the scoring in the 5th minute with a header that just snuck past Lille keeper Elisa Launay. Carolin Simon picked up the assist for her excellent cross into the box. The early goal was a good indicator of how Lyon would approach the match: speed down the wings, plenty of involvement from the outside backs, and good crosses with numbers in the box.
In the 12th minute, it was Shanice van de Sanden who outran everyone down the right side before picking out Amel Majri alone at the penalty spot. Majri tucked the ball into the far corner for the 2-0 lead. Twenty minutes later, it was van de Sanden’s turn to get her name on the score sheet off a pass from Hegerberg. Lyon went into the locker room for halftime up 3-0 with goalkeeper Sarah Bouhaddi still yet to make a save.
When the second half kicked off, it took Hegerberg less than a minute to double her tally for the season, putting away a second header, this time off a cross from Majri. Lyon continued to dominate possession, with the ball rarely leaving Lille’s defensive half. A scramble in the box in the 64th minute was finished off by Izzy Christiansen, who looked pleased to score in her competitive debut for Lyon. Les Fenottes stretched their lead in the 72nd minute off a corner when Griedge Mbock got her head to Simon’s pass. Mbock’s header found the post, but the ball bounced straight back to Amandine Henry, who buried the second chance header.
Lyon didn’t let up in the dying minutes of the game. Majri picked up her second assist on the night in the 87th minute when she found Lucy Bronze nearly alone in the six yard box. Bronze’s goal was Lyon’s fourth off a header on the night, and left Lyon up by seven with stoppage time looming. Majri wasn’t done yet though, tucking a 91st minute strike just under the crossbar for her second of the night to end the game at 8-0.
Coach Reynald Pedros was forced to watch from the sidelines (though it seems he still spent the game yelling instructions from the fence) as he picked up a two-game suspension for his comments in the wake of last season’s Coupe de France final. Tactically, his club opened the season in a 4-4-2, with Eugénie Le Sommer and Hegerberg up front, and van de Sanden, Henry, Christiansen, and Majri stretched across the midfield. The team shifted to last year’s standard 4-3-3 around the 65th minute, with Delphine Cascarino coming on for van de Sanden and Saki Kumagai for Le Sommer. Eva Kouache also made her debut for the club when she came for Henry in the 75th minute.
Majri is an easy pick for player of the match, with two goals and two assists on the day. The Lille defense had no answer for her speed down the left side, and her interchanges with Simon down the wing suggested the start of a promising partnership. Christiansen also had a strong match, popping up all over the field and making a number of smart passes that led to scoring opportunities. It was her dummies in the box that led to both van de Sanden’s goal and Majri’s second, as she demonstrated excellent awareness of her teammates’ positioning.
Elsewhere around the league the favorites took care of business, though scores were generally tight. PSG squeaked by FC Fleury 91 by a 1-0 margin, the only goal coming on an Eve Périsset penalty. Montpellier edged Dijon 1-0, while Paris FC beat Guingamp 2-0. Soyaux picked up a 3-1 win over Rodez, while the opener between Bordeaux and FC Metz was postponed.
The team splits now for the FIFA window, as a number of players have been called into duty for their national teams. Here’s the rundown of international action for the coming week:
Friendly vs. Mexico, Saturday 9/1, 3 pm ET
Sarah Bouhaddi, Griedge Mbock, Amel Majri, Amandine Henry, Delphine Cascarino, Eugénie Le Sommer (Wendie Renard withdrew due to injury)
World Cup Qualifier at Wales, Friday 8/31, 2:45 pm ET
World Cup Qualifier at Kazakhstan, Tuesday 9/4, 11 am ET
Lucy Bronze, Izzy Christiansen
World Cup Qualifier at Norway, Tuesday 9/4, 11 am ET
Shanice van de Sanden
World Cup Qualifier at Iceland, Saturday 9/1, 10:55 am ET
World Cup Qualifier at Faroe Islands, Tuesday 9/4, 11 am ET
Friendly vs. Brazil, Sunday 9/2, 2 pm ET
Lyon are back in action on Saturday, September 8, at 8:30 am ET (14:30 local time) for their second match of the season. They will face ASJ Soyaux Charente in Lyon at the Groupama OL Training Center.
Follow Arianna on Twitter @AScavs.