What about the fact that they lost twice. How about they faced 33 shots the whole game. What about the fact that several bookmakers didn’t even post odds for Lyon to win because they thought it was pointless. Despite this, Slavia was able to win one of the most valuable results in the history of Czech women’s football against the most successful team in the Champions League (eight titles).
“Incredibly! I was thrilled. No one expected that it could end like this,” says Kateřina Svitková, a Chelsea midfielder who left for England from Slavia. “This result can be compared to the men’s Slavia draw at the Manchester City stadium. It is true that Lyon women are not in the same form as City men at the moment, but with Chelsea and Barcelona they are among the three best teams in the world. It is all the more valuable for Slavia that the domestic league is not being played and the girls are used to three months of preparation at this time.”
You could argue that the French giants had some progress before the last round of the group stage and that they only allowed two shots on goal for the Nightingales, but this dream result just doesn’t go down well. Similar to Slavia’s goalless draw with Lyon in the 2016 quarter-final rematch.
“We defended it that time. I don’t even remember kicking the corner,” recalls Svitková. “On Wednesday, Lyon played in a top lineup, it couldn’t have been better. He has tremendous strength and was logically greatly outnumbered. However, the Slavists were excellently organized and were not afraid to play forward, they rewarded themselves with two goals. And Olivia Lukášová captured it perfectly.”
Let’s add that the national team goalkeeper made 11 successful saves and received the player of the match award. Karel Piták, the coach of the slavists, is also experiencing big days: last Thursday he rejoiced at the birth of his daughter Rozárka, and six days later he enjoyed one of the greatest coaching successes of his career. His team collected five points in the Champions League and in the group with Lyon (0:9 and 2:2), Norwegian Bergen (0:1 and 0:1) and Austrian St. Pölten (1:0 and 0:0) finished third. It could have been even better if the Slavists had not only scored three goals.
“It’s a shame that there were so many unconverted chances… The girls had progress, they could have easily won twice with Bergen, for example. However, just the fact that we are talking about potential progress in the Champions League in connection with the Czech team is very positive. Hopefully, the national team will also benefit from this,” hopes Svitková.
The draw in Lyon is further proof of the progress of Czech women’s football. It’s not really rocketing, but it’s gradually picking up. This was also shown by the recent promotion of the women’s representatives to the A group of the League of Nations. The next necessary step? Prime move to a big tournament. The chance will come soon, the 2025 European Championship will be played in April. “We don’t know the opponent yet, but anyway we should finally advance,” emphasizes Svitková. Due to protracted knee problems, she last played last July, but should start training with the team again soon: “I would like to qualify.”