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North Carolina showed why they’re named Courage against Lyon

North Carolina Courage won the first ever International Champions Cup Women's Tournament on Sunday 29 July by beating in the final no less than Olympique Lyonnais, thanks to an early goal of Heather O'Reilly. The Americans resisted brilliantly for 80 minutes to finally lift the trophy.

North Carolina Courage celebrating winning the first ever International Champions Cup Women's Tournament

Fabrice Deschamps
From Amsterdam

North Carolina Courage managed a brilliant upset in the first ever International Champions Cup Women's Tournament final last Sunday in Miami. Facing Olympique lyonnais, the most successful european club for years, the Americans scored early and hold the score until the end despite a huge domination of the french side.

To reach the final, North Carolina beat the other french team of the tournament, Paris-SG (2-1) in the semis while the Lyonnaises had easily won against Manchester City (3-0). The Lyonnaises were archi-favorites with their impressive squad and their fantastic record : 12 French leagues since 2007, seven French cups, five UEFA Champions League including the last three, Lyon is an Ogre.

However, the Americans were not coming on the pitch for fun and when the French defense made a mistake at minute 10, giving them the chance to score first, Heather O’Reilly used all of her long experience and did not miss the target:

But with 80 minutes to go, the OL women had more than enough time to come back. And they tried, a lot : they had 70,6% possession, 23 shots…

The French team have tried everything but was systematically denied. When it was not Sabrina D’Angelo saving everything she could, then the post helped on this header of Wendie Renard and the crossbar as well on this beautiful attempt from Eugenie Le Sommer:

Until the last second header from Amel Majri, it proved impossible to score against North Carolina Courage, whose name said it all on Sunday! “We’ll go down in the history books as winning the first ever. So there’s something to be proud of for that”, summarized O’Reilly after the game.

And in the third place match between Paris-SG and Manchester City, the French side was also not successful, despite a very early goal (2’). The City Women came back on two set-pieces and two headers : first Jill Scott (41’) and then Mie Jans who catapulted the ball into the nets in a beautiful way (45’):

In the second half, the Paris team pushed to come back but Karen Bardsley was literally on fire. She saved practically everything possible, including an incredible firm hand stop on this header. With this win, City finishes third of the tournament.

Watch the two games in replay and all the highlights !