PARIS. The start of the season has gone smoothly for Amanda Ilestedt in Paris.
But now the seriousness begins when PSG meet Real Madrid in a double meeting and league rival Lyon – all within ten days.
– It is really a step in the right direction, Ilestedt says about in the Champions League group game on the women’s side.
She’s been playing in Paris Saint – Germain’s backline all fall, though Amanda Ilestedt still do not know what it is like to drop goals. PSG has gone clean in both the Champions League and the French league, where you shadow Lyon at the top of the table with a full pot, but a worse goal difference. But ahead is the toughest period so far, starting tonight when they face Real Madrid in the group stage of the Champions League.
– It is probably the longest suite without goals conceded I have had, even though we let in a few in Rosengård and Bayern Munich as well, says Amanda Ilestedt.
She missed the last league match against Dijon due to a bit of “November cold”, but is ready to play and charged for the meeting with the Spaniards. Real Madrid sensationally beat Manchester City in the qualifiers for the Champions League and, like PSG, have a full pot in the Champions League after two rounds. In the domestic league it has been slower, where “las blancas” is in tenth place, miles behind the great Barcelona in the lead. Kosovar Asllani has been suffering from a knee injury since the end of September and is not to be expected when the team goes to Paris and the Parc des Princes, which will host tonight’s meeting.
PSG is a real favorite, Amanda Ilestedt agrees.
– Actually, they are at the beginning of their investment, but they have done well this season in Europe. They beat City and now have wins in the group stage. I think it will be a good match. Real is a Spanish playing team, technically skilled, with forwards scoring goals.
“It lifts women’s football”
The women’s Champions League tournament begins for the first time with a group game, unlike before when the teams met in knockout matches immediately.
– I really feel that it is a step in the right direction, you get so many qualitative matches in Europe. It’s fun and it lifts women’s football. From an audience perspective, it’s fun too, you can watch every match on streaming and then the audience gets to come back after the pandemic. It’s fun from a player and audience perspective, says Ilestedt.
Audience yes, the ladies of PSG will have the support of the club’s ultra groups at the Parc des Princes tonight. The curves, which in recent years have often been in conflict with PSG’s management, also follow the women’s team closely and are a guarantee of a high mood and singing. A bit of a rarity in women’s football.
– Yeah absolutely. It is the first club where I feel that they have the same supporters on the men’s and women’s side. Regardless of boys or girls, you cheer on your team. When we met Kharkiv (in the second round of the Champions League, editor’s note) it was so special. Just before kick-off, they come in and cheer and clap and there is such pressure from fans, I have never seen that before. It’s really cool to play in front of fans who are cheering and cheering and are really up and running. They have been in the away match as well, says Ilestedt.
Kosovars Asllani, Caroline Seger, Emma Berglund and Hanna Glas have all passed Paris Saint-Germain in recent years. But Amanda Ilestedt became the first to join the club as French champion this summer, after PSG last season beat past the supreme Lyon and won the league for the first time ever.
Will soon meet Lyon in the league final
In the middle of the double meeting with Real Madrid in the Champions League in November, PSG will go to Lyon for the first league meeting of the season. Olympique Lyonnais, who has been clean in the league and has 32 plus goals so far this autumn, is said to be hungry for revenge after last year’s failed season. Lyon had won the league for fourteen straight years and the Champions League for five, when they saw the upstart from the capital win the league, while PSG also beat Lyon in the quarter-finals of the Champions League.
Amanda Ilestedt knows which prestige meeting is on the agenda.
– It is of course a very important and fun match for us, I look forward so much to playing it.
But fighting for the titles is nothing new for the national team defender who left Bayern Munich as champions this summer after five years at the club before signing for PSG. In between, she played, as is well known, an Olympic final. In the team picture with the silver medals afterwards, Ilestedt is one of the few who does not look directly desperate. But she admits that the loss to Canada still hangs in the balance.
– It was extremely heavy after that. But I think we do very well and should be proud. Every now and then it was hard and for a while afterwards. We were so close to a gold, of course, that it still stings and stings.
When Sportbladet’s experts were to predict the European Championships after the draw the other day, you had to carry the favorite with almost everyone.
– Yes, you hear it more often now. It’s not really something we focus on. It is clear that we are aiming for gold, but there is a long way to go. But we have capacity and it’s fun that so many people believe in us. There are many good teams out in Europe and this European Championship will be difficult to predict, many teams are very good right now out in Europe.
One of them is the Netherlands, the reigning European champions that Sweden meets in their group.
– They are absolutely very good, they still won the European Championship last time, and did well with individually skilled players. But we also have good players right now, many in the big clubs in Europe, others in the damallsvenskan. It is also at team level in the national team, the entire management team has done a great job of getting it together.
Sportbladet – Allsvenskan
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