Ballon d’Or winner Aitana Bonmati and Alexia Putellas both scored twice as Barcelona began their defence of the Women’s Champions League title on Tuesday with a comprehensive 5-0 victory over Benfica, while a ruthless Lyon hit nine against Slavia Prague.
Barcelona are aiming to win the Champions League for the third time in four seasons and their strength in depth was summed up by the presence of six players in their starting line-up who played in August’s World Cup final in Sydney, when Spain beat England 1-0.
A crowd of fewer than 5,000 watched Putellas, who was a substitute in the World Cup final after missing almost all of last season due to a serious knee injury, head in the opener with quarter of an hour played.
Putellas then followed up to make it 2-0 on the line when a header by Esmee Brugts beat the Portuguese side’s goalkeeper, and Bonmati got the third with a composed finish just before the interval.
Putellas was replaced at the break and Bonmati then netted again seven minutes after the restart having been set up by Caroline Graham Hansen.
Nigeria’s Asisat Oshoala wrapped up a convincing victory by scoring with an overhead kick just seconds after coming on as a substitute.
“The motivation for this club is to arrive in the Champions League final every year,” Barcelona’s England midfielder Keira Walsh told DAZN.
“If you look at the mentality of these girls, that’s what I saw when I came in here.
“It was always, constantly being at the top in training every single day. It’s so competitive and that speaks for itself.”
Also in Group A, Eintracht Frankfurt won 2-1 away to Rosengard of Sweden, with captain Tanja Pawollek opening the scoring before Barbara Dunst netted the second for the Germans, who have won the competition four times.
Captain Olivia Schough pulled a goal back for Rosengard, the Swedish champions.
Hegerberg’s 60th goal
Lyon, the record eight-time Champions League winners, are expected to make short work of Group B and they showed no mercy to their hosts in the Czech Republic.
France star Kadidiatou Diani, a close-season signing from Paris Saint-Germain, netted twice for Lyon while 2018 Ballon d’Or winner Ada Hegerberg scored a penalty in the second half.
The Norwegian is the Champions League’s all-time top scorer and that was her 60th goal in the competition.
There was also a brace for Canadian defender Vanessa Gilles, with Sara Daebritz, Danielle van de Donk, Eugenie Le Sommer and substitute Amel Majri getting their other goals.
Seen as one of the main threats to Barcelona’s hopes of retaining the trophy, Lyon’s next game will be at home to the Austrian side St Poelten.
“If everything goes the way we want it to go, we can go far in every competition,” said the Lyon coach, Sonia Bompastor.
St Poelten were beaten 2-1 at home by Brann of Norway on Tuesday, with US-born Icelandic international defender Natasha Anasi scoring the winner for the visitors.
The other groups get underway on Wednesday, when English champions Chelsea travel to play Real Madrid in Group D.
Chelsea boss Emma Hayes was on Tuesday confirmed as the next coach of the United States, a position she will take up after this season.
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