A Barcelona short of goals played with fire in the impressive Camp Nou. Surrounded by 72,262 spectators, the Catalans accused the lack of aim at the same time that they allowed Chelsea to grow. And they suffered. They suffered a lot. When it seemed that Graham Hansen’s goal (once again) was watering the Camp Nou calm and inviting us to dream about the return of Putellas —on the bench after more than nine months in the infirmary—, Chelsea rebelled to bring the suspension to the tie. He was left alone in that, a scare. Barça drew against Chelsea (1-1, 0-1 in the first leg at Stamford Bridge) and will play their fourth Champions League final in the last five seasons against the winner of the duel between Wolfsburg and Arsenal (2-2 in the first leg, the return will be held on Monday the 1st).
Sandra Paños, Marta Torrejón, Mapi León, Fridolina Rolfö, Irene Paredes, Patri Guijarro, Keira Walsh, Aitana Bonmatí, Caroline Hansen, Mariona Caldentey and Asisat Oshoala
Ann-Katrin Berger, Magdalena Eriksson, Niamh Charles, Maren Mjelde, Jess Carter, Ève Périsset, Melanie Leupolz, Jessie Fleming, Erin Cuthbert, Sam Kerr, and Guro Reiten
goals 1-0 min. 63: Caroline Hansen. 1-1 min. 67: Guro Reiten.
Referee Esther Staubli
Yellow cards Guro Reiten (min. 18) and Erin Cuthbert (min. 90)
Chelsea’s intention to stifle Barcelona at the start of the ball lasted a breath. What it took for the Barca team to find the bridge in the direction of Aitana Bonmatí. The Barça interior took the helm of the Barça team, always close to Walsh and Guijarro. Barça had taken note of the first leg match at Stamford Bridge. You had to raise the pressure to control the ball and thus awaken Bonmatí’s football.
With the ball in their boots, Barça knows the script: patience in moving the ball around. The problem was that the Catalans lacked the ability to surprise. There was an exception, of course. And that was when the ball landed on Graham Hansen. The forward of Barcelona is a machine to break lines. As quick as she is skillful, Graham Hansen and his partnership with Bonmatí monopolized Barcelona’s attack, waiting for the light to come on for Oshoala, also for the return of Putellas, the midfielder with the most goals on the planet. Oshoala did not appear, Alexia did not return. Yes, on the other hand, Aitana and Graham met to sign the 1-0.
Giráldez is not used to surprising with the line-up. There is no one to move Sandra Paños from the goal and the same thing happens in the rear with Irene Paredes, Mapi León and Rolfo. This Thursday they were joined by Marta Torrejón in the place of the injured Lucy Bronze. The same thing happens in midfield. Big match, match for Aitana, Walsh and Guijarro. On the other hand, in the attack the questions are presented to the Barcelona coach. Obviously, there is no one who can take Graham Hansen out of the starting eleven. Doubts begin when it comes to locating the Norwegian’s escorts.
In London, Giráldez mixed Graham Hansen with Geyse and Paralluelo. He didn’t finish convincing him. Of course, the Barcelona coach is clear about his bet, he wants two forwards that attack space and another that approaches the midfield. Less than a week later, in the second leg at the Camp Nou, Barça opted for Mariona and Oshoala to complement Hansen. The Barca team attacked better. He lacked, however, what he lacks in the big events: goal. In Barcelona, on the other hand, the Catalans were choking on Berger’s goal.
Barcelona’s lack of shot left Chelsea alive in the tie, at the same time that Putellas’ return to the pitch was put in check. Giráldez was not willing to risk the return of Alexia if the duel against Chelsea was not closed. And he was not, much less with the London team waiting to take advantage of a mistake. He had what. On the field was the powerful Sam Kerr, on the bench Pernille Harder. The Australian found the hole behind Torrejón and forced Reiten’s equalizer.
Suspense at the Camp Nou. Bad news for Barça, also for Putellas, who was choking on his return. In Spain they walk around, yes, but in Europe they got a scare. Just a scare.
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