Women’s Champions League holders Lyon collapsed to a 5-1 home thumping at the hands of Arsenal on Wednesday as Beth Mead starred for the English club, while Barcelona put nine goals past Benfica.
Jonas Eidevall’s Arsenal made a dream start against Lyon, as Mead teed up Caitlin Foord to give them a 13th-minute lead.
Frida Leonhardsen-Maanum doubled the advantage midway through the first half, before Melvine Malard pulled one back for the French side who won a record-extending eighth European Cup by dethroning Barcelona last season.
But Mead, who finished second in the Ballon d’Or voting earlier this week, scored a brilliant free-kick in the 39th minute.
Foord and England’s European Championship-winning hero Mead both scored again in the second period, as Lyon were left humiliated.
No team had previously conceded five goals in a game as the defending champions, while it was the first time Lyon had even shipped four goals in the competition.
“We have a team that can do better,” said Lyon forward Eugenie Le Sommer.
“It’s hard to take five goals, even if we made mistakes that cost us a lot. We are Lyon and we must do better.”
Arsenal’s shock victory, achieved despite leaving star striker Vivianne Miedema to the bench, leaves them top of the early Group C standings.
“Tonight we were very effective. The players worked hard to apply the gameplan in attack and defence,” said Arsenal coach Eidevall. “It’s a special night.”
Juventus made a winning start in the group’s other match with a comfortable 2-0 success at FC Zurich.
In Group D, last year’s runners-up Barcelona laid down a marker with a 9-0 dismantling of Benfica.
Patricia Guijarro opened the scoring in the very first minute and Barca never looked back, with Nigeria forward Asisat Oshoala and Champions League debutant Geyse both grabbing doubles.
The 2021 winners will travel to Sweden to play Rosengard next time out.
Bayern Munich edged out the Scandinavians 2-1 in the other Group D game.
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