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Canada’s Kadeisha Buchanan, Lyon book ticket to Women’s Champions League final

Canadian Kadeisha Buchanan is one triumph away from a fourth consecutive UEFA Women’s Champions League title with Lyon.

The French powerhouse advanced to Sunday’s final versus Germany’s Wolfsburg in San Sebastian, Spain with a 1-0 victory Wednesday over rival Paris Saint-Germain and fellow Canadian Ashley Lawrence in a game that ended with both teams down to 10 players.

A Lyon victory on the weekend and Canada will celebrate double European club glory.

Canadian international Alphonso Davies, whose girlfriend Jordyn Huitema was on the PSG bench Wednesday, hoisted the men’s Champions League trophy on Sunday after Bayern Munich defeated the PSG men 1-0 in Lisbon.

Lyon has won the women’s Champions League the last four years, beating Wolfsburg twice and PSG and Barcelona once each. Buchanan, from Brampton, Ont., joined the squad in January 2017 out of West Virginia University.

Captain Wendie Renard scored in the 67th minute, rising high to head in a free kick. It was the six-foot-one defender’s 103rd goal for Lyon, a six-time European champion. The free kick was prompted by a foul that resulted in PSG midfielder Grace Geyoro being sent off for a second yellow card for taking down Lucy Bronze outside the penalty box.

Lyon lost English forward Nikita Parris to a second yellow card in the 75th minute for needlessly knocking over PSG goalkeeper Christiane Endler as she tried to clear the ball.

PSG pressed in the dying moments, with Endler joining the attack, but was unable to get a clear scoring opportunity.

Wolfsburg, which won the competition in 2013 and ’14, advanced to its fifth Champions League final with a 1-0 victory over 2019 runner-up Barcelona on Tuesday.

The 24-year-old Buchanan started at centre back for Lyon while the 25-year-old Lawrence, a childhood friend of her Lyon rival, was at right fullback for PSG behind closed doors at San Mames Stadium. The two have won 192 Canadian caps between them.

Prior to the game, PSG announced one of its players had been withdrawn from the squad after testing positive for COVID-19. The player was identified as reserve goalkeeper Alice Pinguet.

The game was a battle of French powerhouses, with Lyon holding the edge. PSG’s last win over Lyon came in the 2018 French Cup final. In 45 meetings, Lyon holds a 33-5-7 edge.

Lyon edged Paris Saint-Germain in the 2017 Champions League final in Cardiff and eliminated PSG in the 2016 semifinals.

PSG, twice a Champions League runner-up, was the last team to knock Lyon out of the competition — in the round of 16 in November 2014. Lyon has won four straight titles since then with Buchanan involved in three of them,

The two teams met Aug. 9 in the French Cup final in Auxerre with Lyon winning 4-3 in a penalty shootout after the game finished at 0-0. Lyon also beat PSG on penalties in September to win the first Trophee des Championnes Feminin in Guingamp. Lyon won 1-0 in league play Nov. 16.

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