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Emma Hayes focused on second leg after historic win for Chelsea in Barcelona

SoccerNews in General Soccer News 20 Apr 2024

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Emma Hayes had mixed feelings despite seeing Chelsea condemn holders Barcelona to a first home defeat for five years and edge closer to the Champions League final.

Erin Cuthbert’s first-half goal clinched a precious 1-0 semi-final first-leg win at the Estadi Olimpic Lluis Companys to set the Women’s Super League leaders up perfectly for the return at Stamford Bridge next Saturday.

It was a first competitive victory for the Blues over Barca, who knocked them out at the same stage last season on their way to a second European title, and came courtesy of a superb defensive effort – but boss Hayes was left wondering what might have been.

She told DAZN: “It’s just half-time. Nobody should get carried away with that and to be honest, I’m disappointed we didn’t get the second goal.

“It’s a difficult place to come and they carried out the game plan I asked them to do – so from that perspective, I’m happy.”

The Blues had to soak up early pressure but did so to such effect that Barca did not muster a single shot on target during a tense encounter.

Cuthbert’s 40th-minute strike gave the visitors the lead and, having seen French referee Stephanie Frappart reverse her decision to award a penalty against Kadeisha Buchanan for handball after the break, they might have increased their advantage.

Salma Paralluelo and substitute Alexia Putellas could have salvaged a draw amid a late flurry but Chelsea held firm.

Hayes is well aware of the threat Barcelona will pose in the second leg.

Hayes said: “I think I know how to come away from home and get a result. We have under-performed against Barcelona at home.

“Barcelona have another level in them and I think that’s clear. Maybe they don’t feel they were at their best today and we have to anticipate that.”

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