Chelsea Women 0-4 Barcelona Femeni: ruthless first half sees Barca win first Women’s Champions League title football news
A ruthless first-half performance saw Barcelona Femeni demolish Chelsea Women 4-0 to win their first Women’s Champions League trophy.
The tone for the game was set in one minute when Lieke Martens smashed an effort against the crossbar before Melanie Leupolz inadvertently made the ball into her own net to give Barcelona the opening goal.
And in all fairness, Chelsea never really recovered.
Leupolz was penalized again shortly after a foul on Jennifer Hermoso in the box. Barcelona captain Alexia Putellas then shot home from the penalty spot to double Barcelona’s lead in 12 minutes.
The Spanish side quickly took matters into their own hands as they continued to dominate Chelsea, with Aitana Bonmati (21) and Caroline Graham Hansen (36) both scoring closely to eventually clinch their first Champions League title. .
Chelsea improved after the break but will regret a series of missed opportunities in both halves, in particular Pernille Harder – beaten for a third time in the Champions League final – and Sam Kerr.
It was redemption for Barcelona after their loss to Lyon in the 2019 final, in which they were after a 4-1 loss. There will also be plenty for Emma Hayes and Chelsea to do on their first foray into a European final.
How Barcelona blew Chelsea away
Thirty-three seconds after kick-off and Barcelona received their first goal. Martens’ thunderous effort hit the crossbar, Hansen sending the ball back into the area. Fran Kirby tried to clear, but his effort hit Leupolz’s leg and buckled into the back of the net.
The next 10 minutes saw chances at either end. Harder was very successful in getting behind, before his shot was seen behind by Sandra Panos. Ann-Katrin Berger sent Maria Leon’s effort on a loop over the bar, before Harder passed again, but Marta Torrejon helped guide the ball behind for a corner kick.
Chelsea: Berger (6), Charles (6), Bright (7), Eriksson (7), Carter (6), Leupolz (6), Ingle (6), Kirby (7), Harder (7), Ji (7), Kerr (6 years old).
Subs used: Reiten (7), England (6), Cuthbert (6).
Barcelona: Panos (6), Maria Leon (7), Hermoso (8), Torrejon (7), Hamraoui (7), Putellas (7), Patri (7), Bonmati (8), Leila (7), Graham (8) , Martens (8).
Subs used: Mélanie (6), Losada (6), Mariona (6), Crnogorcevic (6), Oshoala (6).
Player of the match: Jennifer Hermoso.
Things got worse for Chelsea when Barcelona received a 12th-minute penalty. Leupolz was penalized for catching Hermoso with a back leg, with the referee and VAR confirming the kick. Barcelona captain Putellas sent the penalty home to double the lead.
- Emma Hayes named an unchanged side in the last women’s Super League game, where she beat Reading 5-0 at Kingsmeadow.
- Jorja Fox and Agnes Beever-Jones, 17, were also named among the replacements.
Chelsea had barely a second on the ball, overpowered by Barcelona’s quick passes and lightning-quick attacks, with the Spaniards adding their third in the 21st minute. A left wing cut-back found Hermoso just outside the box, with the forward passing the ball to Bonmati. Jess Carter did her best to stop the midfielder, but Bonmati shook her before hitting the house.
It was another close range finish for Barcelona’s fourth. Martens was spotted on the left with a superb pulverized pass and she easily passed Niamh Charles. Martens then squared the ball for Hansen who waited in the middle as she passed the ball past Berger.
Chelsea improved a lot early in the second half. Kerr and Kirby bonded for the first time, but the effort of the former easily wound up in Panos’ arms. The forward almost came close soon after as halftime substitute Guro Reiten delivered a superb cross but he just slipped Kerr off in the middle.
Chelsea continued to see odds narrowing as Barcelona recovered. Kirby was sent back to the left, with Kerr narrowly missing her delivery to the rear post. However, the offside flag was raised against Kirby in preparation. Harder then nodded at a free kick from Reiten straight into Panos’ hands as Chelsea continued to struggle in front of goal.
Barcelona saw less attacking play after the break but Asisat Oshoala believed they rounded things off in the best possible way in added time. Vicky Losada squared the ball to her inside the box and she swept the house, but the offside flag was against Losada.
Hayes: inexperience has cost us
Chelsea Women’s manager Emma Hayes told BT Sport:
“It was a wonderful season for us, today was tough because the game was over before it started and that’s what it’s so hard to think about.
“To concede so early, we had two good chances and then they got the second thanks to the penalty.
“Ann didn’t have any stoppages to make but we lost 4-0, but the damage was done, I’m proud of the performance in the second half, the players gave it their all.
“Congratulations to Barcelona, they are worthy winners, deserve the title and that is something we are going to learn because it is the next step. We have been naive at times.
“They were favorites for a reason and you have to stay in the game against this team. The early goal and the way we conceded it … it’s an own goal and a penalty and we’re 2-0 .
“That’s the difference. It all fell off for them – they had the friction of the green and they made it possible. They are a great team … I will certainly be gracious in the event of a loss.
“Being in that position helps because, like I told the players, look at the scoreboard. It has to be a motivator when they come back for the preseason because it will stay with them through the summer.
“I felt calm coming into the game but I think part of the inexperience has cost us. But they will grow and improve from that. They are all very proud of the change they have performed.
“We won the double so we’re not without a trophy, but I’m gutted that I didn’t have a chance to make it into a game. I did my best, I tried to train the players and change some things, just to give us some momentum.
“We’re not quite European champions, but we’re second best and I’ll take that as a step in the right direction.”
Player of the match – Jennifer Hermoso
Truthfully, you could have picked any of the Barcelona players but Hermoso lived up to his pre-match reputation. She may not have found the net, but she has played a vital role in Barcelona’s attacking game and shares the Women’s Champions League Golden Boot with Fran Kirby.
Chelsea will be back in action on Thursday when they host Everton in the fifth round of the Women’s FA Cup. There are still league games to play for Barcelona, which will host Athletic Bilbao in the Primera Division on Wednesday.