With a game as clinical as silky, the girls of FC Barcelona struck down the English Chelsea (4-0), Sunday in Gothenburg, to win their first Champions League and perhaps start a new era, in the path traced by the fallen queens of OL. In 2019, the Spaniards had taken a lesson in Budapest for their first C1 final, sinking against the Lyonnaises (4-1) with four goals conceded in the first half hour. Two years later, they donned the hangman's clothes, leading 4-0 after just 36 minutes. “We had respected the opponent too much, it was almost fear,” recalled Saturday coach Lluis Cortes who, at 34, offers Barça and Spain a title that has never been conquered. And how!
Her team, who fell for PSG in the previous round, wandered behind the closed doors of Göteborg's Gamla Ullevi, with amazing ease and confidence against Chelsea FC of Danish Pernille Harder, named best UEFA player in 2020, and of Australian Sam Kerr, recruited a year and a half ago with a wonderful salary.
Barça's victory is also that of continuity for a group that did not strengthen in the offseason, relying on its players to develop the typical DNA of Catalan game, made of pressing and incessant passing.
The story is good especially for two evening scorers: the unalterable Alexia Putellas (2-0 from the penalty spot, 14th), captain at the club since 2012, the same year as the former player of the reserve team Aitana Bonmati (3-0, 20th).
Martens, lucky star
The meeting was also illuminated by the Dutch winger Lieke Martens, a nugget of Barça since the summer of 2017 after experiences in clubs in ... Gothenburg and Malmö, in Sweden, and already credited with a double in the semi-final return against PSG (2-1). After twenty-six seconds of play, Barça's N.22 shook Chelsea's crossbar after a solo raid worthy of Lionel Messi! The uprights were still shaking when, in the process, Caroline Graham Hansen sent a high cross that panicked the English defense. In the confusion, Melanie Leupolz catapulted the ball into her own goal with incredible bad luck (1-0, 1st). Scored after thirty-four seconds, this goal was not the fastest in the final. The record remains held by the Brazilian Marta who, in the first leg of the2008 edition, scored after 12 seconds for the Swedes Umea against Frankfurt.
It was again Martens who started the action of the second goal, before shifting Graham Hansen to the right. The latter centered in withdrawal for Jenni Hermoso, touched in the area by Leupolz, again her. Putellas transformed the penalty calmly. The 4-0 goal also comes from the Dutch, European champion and vice-world champion. Left like a bomb on the right wing, she played with an opposing defender to send a caviar to the Norwegian Graham Hansen.
With his slick game and his convictions, Barça made a fine successor to OL, seven-time winner of the Ladies' Champions League and who remained on five successive coronations, before being eliminated in the quarter-finals by his Parisian rival. In this final without a French club, a first since 2014, the corner of blue sky came from Kheira Hamraoui, finally holder after four missed appointments: suspended in 2015 with Paris SG, then in 2019 with Barça, the international tricolor had not been aligned during the finals won with Lyon in 2017 and 2018.
"The Blaugranas want to lift the last title that still eludes them and reach the zenith of a fabulous trajectory," summed up
, the Catalan sports newspaper, on Sunday.
It's done, because Barcelona women have finally won their star.
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