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Olympique Lyonnais

Ballon d'Or winner Hegerberg plays first game in 21 months as Lyon make winning UWCL start

21:04 BST 05/10/2021
Ada Hegerberg Lyon 2021-22
The competition record goalscorer ended her long layoff following a succession of debilitating injuries with a late cameo off the bench

Lyon striker Ada Hegerberg played her first game in 625 days as Sonia Bompastor's side made a winning start to the new UEFA Women's Champions League campaign against Hacken.

Finishes from Melvine Malard and Catarina Macario - the latter's sixth of the season - plus an own goal from Stine Larsen, ensured a 3-0 victory on Les Fenottes's UWCL return.

The 2018 Ballon d'Or Feminin winner and competition record goalscorer ended her near-two-year horrorshow layoff following a succession of debilitating injuries with a late cameo off the bench.

What happened?

Named on the bench ahead of kick-off, the chance of a first match since January 2020 represents the end of a long wait for Hegerberg following a difficult period plagued by fitness issues.

Over 20 months on from an anterior cruciate ligament injury, the former Norway international - whose haul of 53 finishes is an all-time record in the UWCL - was brought on in the 79th minute.

The 26-year-old played out the rest of the match without issue, as Lyon wrapped up their 3-0 victory against the Swedish outfit at Bravida Arena in Gothenburg.

Macario continues hot streak

While her team-mate will have captured the headlines after her long lay-off, USWNT star Macario's finish shortly after half-time continued her superb start to the season for Lyon.

The 22-year-old, signed this year after leaving Stanford University, has been one of the most consistent performers of the new term so far, with half-a-dozen goals across all competitions to her name.

It continues a fine year for the attacking midfielder, who has already enjoyed SheBelieves Cup success and an Olympic bronze medal at international level since January.

The bigger picture

With her first minutes locked in, Hegerberg will be on the lookout to notch up her recovery to full fitness, with a further UWCL test set for next Thursday against Benfica.

She will hope to add to her record haul in the competition, while on the domestic front, she will aim to help Lyon keep their perfect start to the season intact.

The club have won their first five league games to stay three points ahead of Paris Saint-Germain at the summit.

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