Olympique Lyonnais 2-0 St. Pölten: van de Donk nets opener before unfortunate Balog own goal

Having stunned Slavia Praha a week ago with a comprehensive nine-goal thrashing of the Czech side, Olympique Lyonnais returned to UEFA Women’s Champions League action on Wednesday as they welcomed St. Pölten to the banks of the Rhône.

OL: Endler; Bacha, Renard, Gilles, Carpenter; Horan, Egurrola, van de Donk; Däbritz, Hegerberg, Diani

STP: Schlüter; Touon, Klein, Balog, Lemešová, Tabotta; Zver, Wenger, Mikolajová, Mattner; Brunnthaler

Just over three minutes had passed in Lyon when Selma Bacha swept in a beautiful cross from the left flank for Daniëlle van de Donk, who leapt to sweep a header past Carina Schlüter to open the scoring in front of a subdued home crowd.

But despite succumbing to defeat against SK Brann last week, St Pölten looked to be holding firm – and Lyon were struggling to build upon their early advantage, despite carving a number of opportunities from weaknesses in the visitors’ midfield.

Olympique Lyonnais players celebrate the opening goal against St Pölten [PHOTO: Baptiste Fernandez/Icon Sport via Getty Images]

Perhaps had Ada Hegerberg and Kadidiatou Diani slammed home a number of clear-cut chances in the latter stages of the first half, the hosts could have held a more comfortable lead at the break – but their failure to do so ensured St Pölten remained in contention at the OL Stadium.

Olympique Lyonnais didn’t take long to start firing again in the second half though, in the most bizarre of circumstances as Sara Däbritz failed to connect with the ball, allowing Hegerberg to get a shot off. The Norwegian wasn’t able to make the cleanest connection though, and it was ultimately an unfortunate touch from Leonarda Balog that doubled Lyon’s lead.

Hegerberg thought she had added Lyon’s third goal of the evening just eight minutes into the second half, as she bundled home at the far post – but with the referee signalling for handball as she beat Schlüter, the Norwegian would be denied the opportunity to celebrate.

But despite an early scare, as had been the case in the first half, St Pölten’s defence held firm – forcing Olympique Lyonnais to settle for a two-goal win on Matchday 2 of the 2023/24 UEFA Women’s Champions League.

Olympique Lyonnais and St Pölten return to UEFA Women’s Champions League action on December 13. Both sides will be at home, with Lyon welcoming Brann whilst St Pölten host Slavia Praha.