Lyon edge Kobe to win Int’l Women’s Club Championship

 European champions Olympique Lyonnais won the inaugural International Women’s Club Championship by beating Japanese champions INAC Kobe Leonessa 2-1 after extra time thanks to Sonia Bompastor’s penalty in the final of the four-team tournament on Sunday evening in Omiya.
 Lyonnais substitute Corine Franco, who scored the equalizer, was named the MVP of the tournament and Kobe midfielder Ji So Yun won the Most Impressive Player prize.
 At NACK5 Stadium in Omiya, Kobe, who won the Nadeshiko League without a defeat in successive years, attacked hard against the French side with Korea Republic international Ji and Ohno Shinobu setting the pace in midfield.
 The hosts opened the scoring in the 39th minute when Ji got a loose ball and fired home from inside the box.
 Lyonnais rallied in the second half and put the Japanese side under pressure. The French champions equalized in the 85th minute when defender Franco connected with a long feed from Wendi Renard before putting the ball into the back of the net.
 Lotta Schelin came close to breaking the tie with a close-range header off a cross from Elodie Thomis in the 87th minute, but Kobe goalkeeper Kaihori Ayumi reacted well to deny the shot.
 In extra time, Lyonnais went on the attack and were awarded a penalty when substitute forward Laetitia Tonazzi was pushed down by Kai Junko in the box. Bompastor made no mistake with the spot kick in the 103rd minute.
 “We played a very good game today,” said Lyonnais manager Patrice Lair. “Kobe were a very good side out of those we played, and they showed their intention of coming forward.
“Today, we played in the land of the world champions and won, so we are very happy.”
“I’d like to congratulate Lyonnais on their win,” Kobe manager Hoshikawa Kei said. “We played according to our plan in the first half but couldn’t do well when we were under pressure in the second half against their size and power, and our players became passive mentally.”
 Lyonnais earned the top prize of $60,000 out of a total purse of $100,000.
 Japanese Nadeshiko League Cup winners NTV Beleza came in third after edging Australian league champions Canberra United 4-3 thanks to an injury-time goal by Iwashimizu Azusa, her second strike of the day.
 Canberra took the lead three times – through Jennifer Bisset in the seventh minute, Michelle Heyman in the 33rd minute and Hayley Raso in the 66th minute.
But Beleza leveled each time with goals from Iwashimizu in the 11th minute, Ito Kanako in the 42nd minute and Nagasato Asano in the 78th minute. Iwashimizu slotted home the winner from close range two minutes into additional time.