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Match Report: Barcelona Win the Women’s Champions League



Champions League

Match Report: Barcelona Win the Women’s Champions League

Barcelona have won the Women’s Champions League for the first time in their history with an emphatic 4-0 win over a shell-shocked Chelsea side. A brilliant attacking display proved too much for Chelsea to handle as Barca demolished Emma Hayes’ side to lift the trophy.

The win rounds off a brilliant season for Barcelona, who confirmed their League title last weekend with 8 games to spare. By winning the Champions League, they become the first Spanish side ever to be crowned European Champions.

The 4-0 scoreline is the highest winning margin of any Champions League final. Although this was slightly harsh on a Chelsea side who never stopped fighting, Barcelona more than deserved the victory. The Spanish side were simply too much for Chelsea to handle and were justly rewarded by lifting the trophy in Gothenburg.


First Half

The Spanish side were imperious from the off, taking the lead after just 33 seconds. Lieke Martens set the tone by sprinting forward from kick off and hitting a thunderous strike which came back off the bar. Barcelona weren’t to be denied, however, as the resulting scuffle in the box led to Fran Kirby hitting a clearance off the unfortunate Melanie Leupolz which looped over Ann-Katrin Berger into the net.

Although Pernille Harder had a decent chance to equalise almost immediately, it was Barcelona who doubled their lead after 14 minutes. Caroline Graham Hansen muscled her way into the box and cut the ball back for Hermoso, who was adjudged by the referee to have been tripped by Leupolz. Alexia Putellas stepped up to score the resulting penalty, keeping a cool head to send Berger the wrong way and put Barcelona 2-0 up.

Chelsea were being cut apart with every attack, as they struggled to keep hold of the ball in midfield. Barcelona on the other hand were flying, and after just 20 minutes had a third goal to show for their dominance. A lovely flowing move was rounded off by Aitana Bonmati, who shrugged off a challenge from Jess Carter and produced a calm finish after an instinctive, defence-spitting pass from Putellas.

Chelsea were shell shocked. They had been blown away in the first 20 minutes and were struggling to string two passes together. Emma Hayes must have been hoping her side would batten down the hatches until half time, but Barcelona had plans of their own and made it four after 36 minutes.

Lieke Martens was the orchestrator this time with a brilliant mazy run down the left-hand side, breezing past a hapless Niamh Charles and laying in on a plate for Caroline Graham Hansen to tap in. Barcelona were in dreamland. Chelsea were down and out before half time.


Second Half

Chelsea began the second half on the front foot, putting the Barcelona defence under sustained pressure for the first time. However, Barca were happy to stand off and be ready to strike on the counter, and Chelsea struggled to create any meaningful chances.

Magdalena Eriksson made a half-hearted appeal for a penalty after being nudged in the back but the referee waved it away. The first big chance of the second half fell to Pernille Harder on the hour mark, who headed substitute Guro Reiten’s free kick straight at Panos.

Chelsea’s performance was summed up a few minutes later after Harder shanked a shot from a promising position across goal and Kerr headed it harmlessly over the bar. Barcelona were playing almost at walking place, confident that the scoreline was safe from any miraculous Chelsea comeback.

Defensively, Chelsea were much improved in the second half. Niamh Charles produced a brilliant last-ditch tackle to deny Barcelona substitute Asisat Oshoala who was through on goal, but it was too little too late for Emma Hayes’ side.

The tempo slowed with Barcelona’s victory having been pretty much assured since the 36th minute. Oshoala was denied a Champions League final goal by the offside flag in the final minute, but it made no difference. The full-time whistle triggered scenes of jubilation from the Barcelona players and staff, while Chelsea players were inconsolable.


Relief for Barcelona, Despair for Chelsea

For Barcelona, this win will banish the demons of 2019, when they found themselves on the receiving end of a similar drubbing in a Champions League final with a 4-1 loss to Lyon. Now Barcelona have produced a memorable performance of their own on the big stage, taking the crown from Lyon themselves to become European Champions for the first time.

This represents the biggest achievement yet for Lluis Cortes, who has won two league titles in his time at Barcelona. It hasn’t always been plain sailing for the Spanish side, who before 2019/20 hadn’t won the league in 5 seasons. Cortes will see this win as just reward for the club’s rise in recent years.

In contrast, Chelsea will be left to rue what might have been. This was their first champions league final, and likely not their last, although this will be a tough loss for the Blues to take. Thoughts of a quadruple have been put to bed but the season can still be considered a success with the WSL title and League Cup already in the bag.

For Emma Hayes, whose exceptional rise has been well documented, this setback will be just another obstacle for a top class manager to navigate. Chelsea will look to be back next season. This night, though, belongs to Barcelona, the winners of the 2021 Women’s Champions League.


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