The Independent's journalism is supported by our readers. When you purchase through links on our site, we may earn commission. 

Why Lindsey Horan’s influence is key as Lyon meet rivals PSG in Women’s Champions League semi-final

The USA star makes Lyon tick as the French giant look to reclaim their spot as the Queens of Europe after last year’s disappointment

Unnati Naidu
Friday 19 April 2024 11:28 BST
Lindsey Horan could hold the key to success for Lyon in the Women’s Champions League
Lindsey Horan could hold the key to success for Lyon in the Women’s Champions League (AFP via Getty Images)

American star Lindsey Horan, the dynamic midfielder and captain of the United States Women’s National Team (USWNT), is setting her sights high as she aims to lead Olympique Lyonnais to a record-extending ninth Women’s Champions League title.

Lyon, the most successful club in the history of the Women’s Champions League, suffered heartbreak last season when they were eliminated by Chelsea at the quarter-final stage following a dramatic penalty shootout at Stamford Bridge.

This season, the team is aiming to reclaim top billing and add another trophy to their illustrious cabinet as they meet rivals Paris Saint-Germain in an all-French semi-final. Horan brings a wealth of experience and a proven winner’s mentality to the squad, mirroring the ethos she has been a part of with the USWNT, with whom she secured a memorable World Cup victory in 2019.

Watch the Women’s Champions League Semi-Finals for free on DAZN

Horan credits Lyon’s historic success to a winning mentality deeply ingrained within Sonia Bompastor’s side, akin to what she has experienced with her national team. The 29-year-old’s role as a leader is emphasised by her response to suggestions that Lyon might have been overtaken by other emerging powers like Barcelona; to Horan, Lyon remain the team to beat in European women’s football.

Growing up in Colorado, Horan was captivated by the men’s Champions League and aspired to reach similar heights in the women’s game. Her ambitions reflect a broader goal: to elevate the profile of the women’s competition and inspire a global audience. Each season, as the Women’s Champions League garners more attention, Horan’s dream of boosting the tournament’s prominence comes closer to reality, underscoring her impact beyond the pitch.

In the recent Champions League quarter-final against Benfica, Horan showed her class once again. She played a crucial role in Lyon’s convincing 4-1 victory, contributing assists that showcased her vision and skill. Her pass set up Delphine Cascarino, who scored a spectacular long-range goal, while another deft header from Horan enabled striker Kadidiatou Diani to seal the win.

Lindsey Horan has found success at international level, as well as with Lyon
Lindsey Horan has found success at international level, as well as with Lyon (Getty Images)

As Lyon advanced, the focus is now on surpassing their French rivals PSG to reach the Bilbao final. PSG have come close to European glory in the past, finishing as runners-up in 2015 and 2017. In both instances, they were edged out by none other than Lyon, including a heartbreaking penalty shootout loss in 2017.

However, the landscape is changing. PSG's domestic triumph over Lyon, clinching the French top-flight title for the first time in 2021, signalled a significant moment in the new dynamics of women’s club football in France. The transfer of left-back Sakina Karchaoui from Lyon to PSG that summer marked a further power shift: it symbolised PSG’s intent to overcome the hurdle that Lyon had often represented in their European campaigns.

Lyon hit back to win the next two Division 1 Feminine titles and stand on the brink of a third in a row this season - indeed, the transfer of French international striker Diani from PSG to Lyon in the summer suggests the power shift may have swung back in the other direction. PSG still come into the Women’s Champions League semi-final in formidable form: currently on a 22-match unbeaten streak and an 11-game winning run at home.

For the Parisians, their upcoming semi-final is more than just a match; it's a chance for revenge and a step towards rewriting history. PSG coach Jocelyn Precheur has underlined its significance, highlighting the team's determination to overcome their rivals on such a crucial stage.

Horan’s experience and tactical acumen will be vital as Lyon prepare to protect the established order – and her influence resonates as she prepares to lead Lyon in their quest for another Women’s Champions League title.

Catch the thrilling all-French clash in the UEFA Women’s Champions League semi-final as eight-time champions Olympique Lyonnais take on archrivals Paris Saint-Germain. Watch all the action unfold live and for free on DAZN.

We may earn commission from some of the links in this article, but we never allow this to influence our content. This revenue helps to fund journalism across The Independent.

Join our commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies


Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in