Tuesday, May 21, 2024

Chelsea Women 0-2 Barcelona Femeni (1-2 agg): Holders reach Champions League final again

SoccerNews in General Soccer News 27 Apr 2024

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Women’s Champions League holders Barcelona overturned a 1-0 first-leg deficit to reach a fourth straight final on Saturday, beating 10-player Chelsea 2-0 at Stamford Bridge.

Emma Hayes’ hopes of ending her glittering spell with the Blues by lifting the Champions League trophy were dashed in heartbreaking fashion in front of a sell-out crowd in West London.

Barca went ahead through Ballon d’Or winner Aitana Bonmati 26 minutes in, the diminutive Spaniard seeing her shot deflect off Kadeisha Buchanan to beat Hannah Hampton.

The hosts pushed for a response as Sjoeke Nuksen struck the post, but their position worsened just before the hour mark as Buchanan was perhaps harshly shown a second yellow card for her tackle on Salma Paralluelo.

Barca penned their hosts back from there and Bonmati was decisive again as they inched ahead with 15 minutes to play, drawing a foul from Ashley Lawrence and allowing Fridolina Rolfo to convert from the penalty spot.

Jonatan Giraldez’s team have won two of the last three editions of the Champions League, also losing in the final to Lyon in 2021-22. They could be reunited with Les Lyonnaises in next month’s final in Bilbao, as they hold a 3-2 lead over Paris Saint-Germain at the halfway stage of the other semi-final.

Data Debrief: Bonmati caps trademark Barca performance

Aided by Buchanan’s red card, Barcelona showcased their mastery of possession-based football at Stamford Bridge, enjoying 67.8 per cent of the possession and completing over twice as many passes as Chelsea (583 to 224).

Bonmati was at the centre of everything for the Blaugrana, playing a key role in both goals as well as laying on two chances for team-mates and playing 31 passes in the final third – no Chelsea player recorded more than 11.

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