The fantastic season of Selma Bacha

Selma Bacha last season proved to be an increasingly fundamental pawn in Lyon’s formation despite her young age.

Born in 2000, to the sound of assists, and even a few goals, Bacha was among the main protagonists of the return to the top of Europe of the transalpine club and of the ride in the French championship.

In general, in the 2021-22 season the number 4 of the OL collected 3 goals and 19 assists in 32 appearances out of 37 total matches played by Lyon) between the championship, the French Cup and the Champions League. It is no coincidence that OL fans voted her as the best player of the season with 67% of the votes.

In the Champions League he won the award for the best young player in the competition. Bacha was decisive in Europe with her 9 assists, thanks to which she won the ranking of assistwomen, in 10 appearances. She supplied 4 of them to Ada Hegerberg. Among these also the one for the 2-0 signed by the Norwegian in the Champions League final.

The French triplet was not only important with its assists, but also with the recovered balls. In this classification of the Champions 2021-22, in fact, Bacha is in fifth position with 58 balls recovered, on a par with Lena Lattwein. The only Lyon player to do better than Bacha is Kadeisha Buchanan, first in the table with 83.

Photo LiveMedia / DPPI / Ivan Terron Valencia, Spain, September 01, 2021, UEFA Champions League Women football match Round 2, 1st leg – Levante UD vs Olympique Lyonnais Image shows: Selma Bacha of Olympique Lyonnais during the UEFA Women’s Champions League, Round 2 , 1st leg football match between Levante UD and Olympique Lyonnais on September 1, 2021 at the Ciutat de Valencia Stadium in Valencia, Spain – Photo Ivan Terron / Spain DPPI / DPPI LiveMedia – World Copyright

Lyon himself last May 25 in a short article on his website highlighted Bacha’s great season, defining the seasonal statistics of the 2000 class as “impressive” and underlining the “ability to make himself decisive”. Lyon especially praised his performance in the Champions League final. “And even if the other 14 teammates were extraordinary, Selma Bacha illuminated the Turin evening with her presence”, reads the article. “She Involved in the defensive phase, she was also omnipresent in attack, distilling some precious ball”

In the Turin final, Bacha is the OL player who has touched the most balls (63) and the one with the highest percentage of successful passes (87.9%). In addition to the aforementioned assist for Hegerberg, the 21-year-old Frenchman created 2 chances, bringing the number of chances created throughout the competition to 25.

Although Uefa gave the player of the match award in the Champions League final to Amandine Henry, OL fans on the French club’s Twitter page voted for Bacha. Number 4 received 40% of the votes, clearly separating the other candidates: Hegerberg and Henry herself at 27% and Catarina Macario at 6%.

As for the D1, however, Bacha has collected 3 goals and 9 assists in 19 appearances. Her performances in the championship have allowed her to be included in the ideal formation of the D1 2021-22.

Photo LiveMedia / Reporter Torino Turin, Italy, March 23, 2022, UEFA Champions League Women football match Juventus Women vs Olympique Lyonnais Image shows: Selma Bacha of Olympique Lyonnais in action during the 2021/22 Champions League Quarter Finals match between Juventus Women and Olympique Lyonnais at Allianz Stadium on March 23, 2022 in Turin, Italy-photo ReporterTorino LiveMedia – World Copyright

on 27 August 2021, during the first day of the championship, he scored his first ever goal in D1, scoring the definitive 3-0 in the 93rd minute against Stade de Reims. On matchday two he scored his second consecutive goal by signing the definitive 6-0 against Saint-Étienne. During the sixth matchday he signed what to date is his last goal in D1, unlocking the match won 5-0 against Montpellier.

As for the assists in the league, the first was recorded on the fifth day for the goal of Damaris Egurrola in the 4-1 against Bordeaux. In D1 the player Bacha has provided the most assists to is Griedge Mbock Bathy, with 2 assists.

With the assist for Hegerberg in the 2-1 victory at Paris FC, adding those in the Champions League, the count of assists of the number 4 for the Norwegian rises to 5. Hegerberg, therefore, is the teammate to whom Bacha has provided more assists.

Of the 19 assists of the season, 9 came directly from set pieces. Of these, 8 are on corner kicks, of which only one is from the left. On a free kick, however, he made only one assist. Four of his free-kick assists have been for Wendie Renard, divided between the championship (1), the French Cup (1) and the Champions League (2).

During the 2021-22 season Bacha also reached the quota of 100 appearances for Lyon. On 27 February 2022, in fact, in Reims-OL 0-2 the 2000 class played their hundredth game with the transalpine club, also making the assist for the doubling signed by Renard. Not bad for a 21-year-old girl.

Bacha signed his first contract with OL in July 2017, when he was only 16 years old. Her initial plan was to have her coach with the first team during the week and have her play with the U19 squad over the weekend. However, the injury of a player and the coach’s confidence gave her the opportunity to make room for herself and also play with the first team. In the 2017-18 season, in fact, you made a total of 23 appearances: 11 in D1 (of which 8 as a starter), 6 in the French Cup (also scoring 2 goals), 6 in the Champions League (all as a starter). Her first goal was scored on January 28, 2018 in the round of 32 match won 10-0 against FF Yzeure, with a nice free kick in the 60th minute. The second of her, on the other hand, scored in 11-0 at Arras FCF in the quarter-finals.

In the 2018-19 season he scored one more appearance: 24. He scored only one goal: his first (and for now only) in the Champions League. The goal dates back to Ajax-Lyon 0-4 on 17 October 2018. In that match Bacha scored in the 27th minute with a low-kick from Amel Majri’s touch.

In the 2019-20 season he made only 15 appearances, without goals. Contributing to this decrease in matches played was the pandemic, which interrupted the season in February 2020. In the following one, however, the 16 appearances (without goals) are due to the arrival of Sakina Karchaoui.

During the last season the departure of the French triplet and the long injury (and then the pregnancy) of Amel Majri allowed Bacha to find space on the left flank both as a triplet and as a winger and to become the decisive player who has revealed in recent months.

At 22 years still to be accomplished, Bacha can boast an already very rich palmares. In his personal showcase, in fact, we find 4 D1 (2018-20 and 2022), 2 French Cups (2019 and 2020) and 4 Champions League (2018-2020 and 2022).

A year ago, during a car interview, when asked what his personal goal was, he replied: “Making the history of my club”. This season you have certainly contributed to writing a new page in the history of what he has called “the club of my heart”. Considering his young age he will continue to do so even in later ones.

The splendid season with the Lyon shirt allowed Bacha to also get his first call to the senior national team, in November 2021. Previously he had the transalpine national team in the youth selections from under 16 to under 21 (with the Under 19 won the European Championship in 2019).

On 26 November he made his senior international debut as a starter, playing all 90 minutes in the 6-0 World Cup qualifying match against Kazakhstan. On November 30, in the world qualifying match against Wales he scored his first goal with the France shirt, signing the definitive 2-0.

With only 6 appearances on her shoulders, Corinne Diacre included her in the 23 called for the European Championship in England. At Euro 2022, Bacha played mainly from the bench, taking the field in all 5 games played by France.

In the continental tournament in England, Bacha made his 5-1 debut against Italy, entering in the 78th minute. In the last game of the group, drawn 1-1 against Iceland, the Lyon triplet played their only game as a starter in the European Championship. In the quarter-finals, won 1-0 in extra time against the Netherlands, she received the award of best player of the match, despite entering in the 62nd minute.

Martina Pozzoli