It wasn’t to be the dream result for Chelsea Women in the Champions League Final, who were comfortably defeated 4-0 by an outstanding Barcelona team. The Catalonians scored all four goals in a quite sensational first half to ensure it ended Chelsea 0-4 Barcelona.
The Blues got off to the worst possible start as 30 seconds in, they were 1-0 down as Fran Kirby’s clearance was hit straight at Melanie Leupolz and into the back of the net. Not long later, Barcelona were awarded what looked to be a controversial penalty which was Cooley dispatched by Alexia Putellas for 2-0. Six minutes later, Barcelona made it three as Aitana Bonmati slotted home past the goalkeeper to give themselves some breathing space between them and Chelsea.
Later on, in the first half, Caroline Hansen tapped home with ease to put the match beyond the reach of Emma Hayes’ side to go in at the break 4-0 in front. After the restart, the Blues showed more intent but were unable to break down the strong Barcelona defence and struggled to threaten the goalkeeper. In the end, Barcelona held out for a 4-0 victory to win their maiden Champions League title.
Emma Hayes named an unchanged side from last week’s game against Reading, which saw the Blues crowned WSL champions and also the one from the Champions League second leg against Bayern Munich. Ann Katrin-Berger continued to keep her place in the sticks with Niamh Charles and Jess Carter occupying the full-back positions. Meanwhile, the same formidable centre-back partnership started in captain Magdalena Eriksson and Millie Bright.
Further up the field and in central midfield, Sophie Ingle started beside Melanie Leupolz and South Korean international Ji So-Yun. In the front, the pacey Fran Kirby was on the right and Danish playmaker Pernille Harder, the most expensive player in Women’s football and the match-winner against Bayern, played in attacking midfield and in behind the centre-forward and WSL golden boot winner Sam Kerr.
Meanwhile, for Barcelona, manager Lluís Cortés made one change from the side that defeated PSG to reach the final in Gothenburg. Sandra Paños started in between the sticks while the first change came in the centre of defence as Patri Guijarro dropped into the defence from midfield and started alongside Mapi León. Occupying the full-back positions for Barcelona were Leila Ouahabi and Marta Torrejón and in the midfield three, Kheira Hamraoui was the player that came into the side replacing the suspended Andrea Pereira.
The other two players in the midfield were Spanish duo Aitana Bonmati and Alexia Putellas with Caroline Hansen on the left side of the attack and Dutch star Lieke Martens. Finally, spearheading the attack for Barcelona was Jennifer Hermoso, who was the joint top scorer in the Women’s Champions League along with Chelsea’s Fran Kirby.
With just 30 seconds gone in Gothenburg, Barcelona broke the deadlock. Lieke Marten’s curling effort came back off the crossbar before the ball was put back into the area as Fran Kirby’s clearance came off Melanie Leupolz and into the back of the net. Not the start the Blues wanted as it was Chelsea 0-1 Barcelona. Meanwhile, up the other end, Emma Hayes’ side had an opportunity to get level almost straight away as Jess Carter’s delivery fell to Pernille Harder, who shot just over the bar.
Barcelona had a good chance to make it 2-0 as the ball was played to Jennifer Hermoso, who turned and struck just wide of the post before a strike by Caroline Hanson was tipped over the bar by Berger. An entertaining first five minutes of the game in Sweden with both sides showing their attacking intent. The Blues continued their search for an equaliser as Kerr’s flicked the ball onto Harder, whose attempt deflected out for a corner. The resulting corner was put in as Magdalena Eriksson headed off target.
However, 12 minutes in, Barcelona were awarded a penalty as Hermoso went down in the area from the challenge by Leupolz. Alexia Putellas stepped up from the spot and comfortably converted past Berger to make it Chelsea 0-2 Barcelona. The Blues had a mountain to climb if they were to get back into the final. Meanwhile, the Blues threatened in front of goal as Kerr put the ball into the box as the header by Harder was off target.
Not long later, Barcelona were 3-0 up after just 20 minutes as some great build up play saw the ball slid through to Aitana Bonmati got the better of Carter before slotting into the bottom corner for Chelsea 0-3 Barcelona. A monumental comeback looked to be required from Emma Hayes and Chelsea. Barcelona had a chance to add a fourth but Putellas’ low driven effort drifted wide of the target. Ji did well to spot Kerr, who made a great run towards the goal as she attempted to lift the ball over the goalkeeper but couldn’t find the target.
However, on 36 minutes, Barcelona made it 4-0 as Martens squared the ball into Hansen to tap in from the close range. The Spaniards looked on their way towards the Champions League as the score was now Chelsea 0-4 Barcelona. The Blues were desperate to get back into the game as the ball was played out wide to Harder but the Dane shot straight at the goalkeeper. Just before the break, a free kick by Ji was hit straight into the arms of Sandra Paños. The half-time whistle was soon blown in Gothenburg with Barcelona comfortably ahead at 4-0 and looked set to win their maiden Champions League title barring a Chelsea comeback.
HT: Chelsea 0-4 Barcelona
Guro Reiten was introduced by Hayes heading into the restart as the scorer of the own goal Leupolz made way. A minute into the second period, Chelsea had the first chance of the half as Fran Kirby crossed the ball into Kerr, who headed was caught by Paños. A few minutes later, Reiten delivered the ball to the post to Kerr, who was inches away from getting a touch. The Blues dominated the second half but were limited to very few chances in front of goal as it stayed 4-0 going into the hour mark.
Barcelona had their first effort since the restart soon on 62 minutes as Hermoso was through on goal before hitting the side netting. Chelsea came close to pulling a goal back as Reiten put in a free kick towards the path of Harder, who headed straight at the goalkeeper. With 20 minutes to go, the Blues were close again as Niamh Charles played the ball to Harder, who gave it to Kirby, who then struck over the bar.
On 84 minutes, Harder had yet another opportunity for Chelsea but volleyed well over the bar as it just wasn’t her night in front of goal. Up the other end, Barcelona had a chance to make it 5-0 as a shot from Oshoala was hit off target. The referee soon brought an end to proceeding in Gothenburg as it finished 4-0 to Barcelona in what was a deserved victory for the Catalonians.
FT: Chelsea 0-4 Barcelona
Chelsea): Berger (GK); Charles, Eriksson (c), Bright, Carter; Leupolz, Ingle, Ji; Kirby, Kerr, Harder
Subs used: Reiten (for Leupolz (46 mins), England (for Kerr, 73 mins), Cuthbert (for Ji, 73 mins)
Barcelona: Paños (GK); Torrejón, Guijarro, León, Ouahabi; Bonmatí, Hamroui, Putellas; Hansen, Hermoso, Martens
Subs used: Caldentey (for Hansen, 62 mins), Oshoala (for Hermoso, 71 mins), Losada (for Putellas, 71 mins), Serrano (for Ouahabi, 82 mins), Crnogorčević (for Torrejón, 82 mins)
Goals: Leupolz (1 mins, own goal), Putellas (14 mins, pen), Bonmati (20 mins), Hansen (36 mins)
Chelsea Women 0-4 Barcelona Femení Post Match Thoughts
It certainly was a night to forgot for Chelsea, who fell to a defeat in their first ever appearance in a Champions League Final but lost out to a much better side in Barcelona. The Spanish side looked very impressive and it’s clear to see why they have dominated in their domestic league having won every game, scoring 128 goals, and conceding just five.
However, lessons will certainly be learned from this final, and Emma Hayes’ side will go again next season. It’s been a brilliant season all-round for Chelsea, winning the WSL, the Continental Cup, and still going strong in the FA Cup. The result may not have gone their way on the night but things are only going to go up from here.
Written by Matt North @MattNorth_
Edited by Jai Mcintosh @jjmcintosh5