Barcelona takes advantage against Chelsea in the first leg of the women’s Champions League semifinal | Sports

The last European Championship conquered England in football. He did it in the stands, Stamford Bridge registered its highest number of spectators in a women’s Champions League match (27,697), also in the field. After erasing the totem of totems, Olympique de Lyon, from the fight for La Orejona, Chelsea stood up to Barcelona. There was no sign in London of the fragile team that the Catalans had erased in the Champions League final two seasons ago in Gothenburg (4-0). But Barça, finalist in three of the last four editions of the Champions League, is one step further. The azulgranas endured the initial suffocation and then went on to control the duel. Always calm on the scoreboard that the talent of Graham Hansen had given him.

The Norwegian did not take three minutes to break the blue wall of Chelsea. The Barça striker, a specialist where specialists are scarce, that is to say, one-on-one, pulled out a new trick from her magic catalog: a more precise than powerful left-footed shot from the door of the area that left Berger’s stretch to nothing. The goal, however, did not move one iota the plan of Emma Hayes, coach of the blues. Chelsea had dispensed with the entry of its most talented footballer, Lauren James, in exchange for consolidating a defensive structure that manages to tie up the talented midfielder of Barça led by Aitana Bonmatí, since Putellas has been in the infirmary.

The pressure, especially the intensity of Chelsea, left Barcelona with no more weapons in attack than the inspiration of an inspired Graham Hansen. Everything that passed through the right boot of the Norwegian striker translated into danger for the English team. The problem, for Barcelona, ​​was that it was difficult for them to find the spaces to uncork the speed ability of the 10. On the other hand, without control of the game, they suffered with each long ball from the blues to look for Sam Kerr. The Australian, an old enemy of Barça since she mocked on Twitter the defeat of the Catalans in the Champions League final in Budapest, had a personal duel with Mapi León. It did not fail, in any case, the 4 of Barça.

The defense has become one of the great bulwarks of Jonatan Giráldez’s Barcelona this season: it is the team with the fewest goals scored in the League (five) and has accumulated seven goals conceded in Europe. In the big events, in any case, Giráldez has no problem adjusting the rear; he did, on the other hand, to design the attack. The Barca coach is used to not changing the idea of ​​him, always with two strikers who attack space, plus another positional one. Without Martens (PSG) and Hermoso (Pachuca), to which is added the lack of goals after the absence of Putellas, Barça accuses the lack of ideas in attack. Except Graham Hansen, of course. So, the coach sought to hurt the weakened Chelsea defense (he lost Buchanan and Kirby to injury), with Mariona.

But Barça was still too aware of Hansen. By then, Giráldez had already adjusted details in the pressure and the Catalans suffered less in transitions. And that Hayes had already sent Lauren James to the field. He did not scare Chelsea with his 10, nor when Pernille Harder appeared on the pitch at Stamford Bridge after more than four months in the infirmary. In fact, it was Barça who insisted on leaving the tie closed for the return at the Camp Nou on April 27. The post, however, denied Torrejón the goal. The game in London went out, not football in England. Chelsea grows, still far from a power like Barça that will seek the fourth final in its history, now without Lyon’s bogeyman on the horizon.

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