Barcelona run riot to thrash Chelsea and win Women’s Champions League final

Chelsea 0-4 Barcelona: The Spanish side were fast out the blocks and ruthless in the final third

Karl Matchett
Sunday 16 May 2021 22:15

Barcelona gave Chelsea a night to forget in Sweden after a rampant first-half display saw them win the Uefa Women’s Champions League final by a 4-0 scoreline.

The Spanish side, who reached the final two years ago and were beaten by Lyon, were in control almost directly from kick-off and never looked like letting the Women’s Super League winners back into the game after taking the lead inside 33 seconds.

And instead of Chelsea reacting to that early setback, it was Barcelona who became even more inspired to rattle in three further goals before the break and ultimately become the team who end Lyon’s five-year dominance of the competition.

Blues captain Magda Eriksson had spoken in the build-up to the game about the team’s ability to “find a way” to eke out results even when not playing perfectly, but there was simply no chance for that mentality to emerge as wave after wave of attacking quality engulfed the defence early on.

The movement and incisive passing Barcelona could produce was on show in the opening seconds and led to an own goal, with the ball bouncing off the crossbar before Fran Kirby tried to clear her lines - but only succeeded in smashing the ball off Melanie Leupolz, over the despairing reach of Ann-Katrin Berger and into the net.

If Emma Hayes’ side had hoped to gather themselves after that rude awakening and ease themselves into the match, they were left disappointed.

Alexia Putellas rolled home a penalty - somewhat contentiously given - before the quarter-hour mark and Aitana Bonmati finished a brilliant team move to make it 3-0 after just 22 minutes.

Chelsea had barely had a look-in at the other end, but Sam Kerr did then race onto a lofted pass and tried to lob the onrushing Sandra Panos - but her effort was somewhat rushed and off-target.

Moments later it was definitively game over, as Barca’s wing play again tormented Chelsea and opened up their defence.

Lieke Martens was one of the stand-outs on the night in Gothenburg and flew past Niamh Charles down the left, eventually cutting it back for Caroline Graham Hunter to tap in for the fourth, after just 36 minutes.

Ji So-yun fired a free-kick on target just before the break as Chelsea looked for a way back into the game, but Barcelona’s control was complete.

After the break, the Spanish side understandably took their foot off the pedal and were content to spring counter-attacks whenever possible, but Chelsea lacked the ruthless, clinical edge their opponents had found.

Pernille Harder had one effort in either half, but composure was missing on both occasions - as it was when a bouncing ball wasn’t connected with cleanly by any of Chelsea’s front three, in and around the six-yard box.

Jenni Hermoso had the chance of a fourth for Barcelona, firing into the side-netting on the break, but the game was up by the midway point and there was no great push to rack up an even bigger scoreline - though Asisat Oshoala did find the back of the net in stoppage time, only to see the offside flag raised.

The win is Barcelona’s first Champions League title, while they have a 100 per cent record in their domestic league too, marking an exceptional season and setting a new standard to which Chelsea and their WSL rivals will attempt to reach next season.

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