Women’s Champions League: Chelsea’s match plan thwarts Putellas’ return | Sports

No one in the Barcelona Sports City was convinced with his return to the squad. Nobody except her. But her voice is loud. At the Camp Nou and in the world of football. She is Alexia Putellas, the only footballer who has two Ballon d’Ors in her showcase who returned to Giráldez’s list after nine months and 23 days in the infirmary. A magnet for the Barça fans who came to the Camp Nou with the hope of seeing their greatest idol return. They were out of luck. “I had talked to her so much yesterday [por el miércoles] like today [por este jueves]. But it’s not that it’s something I do with her, but that I do it with all the players when they’re about to come back from injury. We talked about all possible scenarios. The game was open, very intense. And before the game he had already said that we didn’t want to take any kind of risk”, explained Jonatan Giráldez.

FCBFFC Barcelona Female
FC Barcelona Female


Sandra Paños, Marta Torrejón, Mapi León, Fridolina Rolfö, Irene Paredes, Patri Guijarro, Keira Walsh, Aitana Bonmatí, Caroline Hansen, Mariona Caldentey and Asisat Oshoala


Chelsea Women

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)

On Wednesday, Barça had sold close to 60,000 tickets for the second leg of the Champions League semifinal. But the return of Putellas was announced. So, in just under 12 hours, the Barca fans bought 6,000 tickets. Finally, 72,262 spectators appeared at the Barcelona stadium.

The figure, in any case, was far from the record of 91,648 that was set last season in the semifinal against Wolfsburg. However, attendance became more important. It was the first time that everyone present had to pay for their ticket. Last year, Barcelona members only had to pay 2.5 euros for expense management and could request up to four. This Thursday the tickets ranged between 13 and 31 euros. The magnetism of the Barcelona fans with Giráldez’s girls is no longer a coincidence, much less the convening power of Alexia Putellas.

In the run-up to Chelsea’s visit, the boys and girls who painted posters crowded around the Camp Nou. “Alexia, Alexia, Alexia”, sang the fans when the team went to warm up. But the captain hadn’t even shown up. The clamor was repeated in the 11th minute (Putellas’ number). The fans never tired of asking for Alexia. Barça succumbed to Chelsea’s game plan and the possibility of the captain playing the last game at the Camp Nou before being banished to Montjuïc vanished. “I noticed the panic in the Barcelona players,” said Emma Hayes, Chelsea’s coach. “Panic?” Giráldez replied; “none. They gave the sensation of playing in our field, but they did not generate any clear chances”. Aitana, chosen as the best player in the final, finished off: “After Chelsea’s goal we had to manage our performance. That is key in elite football: you can enjoy yourself, but you will always have to suffer”.

“Alexia, Alexia. Alexia”, insisted the Camp Nou. Putellas, at least, greeted from the grass, with the pass to the final in his pocket. And, of course, he took the field to celebrate his fourth final in the last five seasons.

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