For both teams, it was a chance to turn domestic dominance into European Substance. Neither side had won the title before and the stage was set for a change. Barcelona have won all their 26 games of the season, scoring 128(!) goals and conceding only 5. Emma Hayes’ side has sealed a domestic double so they must have been feeling up to it.
Narrator: They were not up for it.
Lieke Martens hit the crossbar within 30 seconds and Barcelona went ahead seconds later when the ball took a massive loop from Melanie Leupolz and went over goalkeeper Ann-Katrin Berger. Leupolz was having a torrid start and she brought down Jenni Hermoso for a penalty. Alexia Putellas converted. Martens, Hermoso, and Putellas combined in slick fashion to set up Aitana Bonmatí to fire home the third goal. The irrepressible Martens flew down the left, nutmegged Millie Bright, and put the ball on a plate for Caroline Graham Hansen to tap home for the fourth before the half-time break.
Roman Abramovich had seen enough. Pernille Harder’s two half-chances squandered did nothing to assuage the damage. Chelsea were beaten by half-time. They did come out better but did not do anything impactful enough to change the scoreline. Asisat Oshoala scored a late goal but it was disallowed for offside.
It didn’t matter. Barcelona Femeni wins the UEFA Champions League for the first time in their history. Barcelona is the first team whose male and female teams have lifted the UEFA Champions League trophy.
For Emma and her side, it is back to the drawing board. This is the last piece of the puzzle they need to complete their silverware rack. This completes a miserable week for Chelsea that has seen them lose to Arsenal, lose the FA Cup final, lose the Women’s UEFA Champions League final, and lose ground to Liverpool in the league in the chase for top 4. You do not want to cross Roman right now!
Congratulations to Barcelona Femeni. Deserved Champions!!!