FC Barcelona stun Chelsea and win the 2021 UEFA Women’s Champions League
The Blaugrana make history by becoming the first Spanish women's team to be crowned champions of Europe.
by Alessandra Puglisi
Courtesy of Quality Sport Images
The UEFA Women’s Champions League reached its peak on Sunday night the 16th of May at the Gamla Ullevi stadium in Göteborg, Sweden, where FC Barcelona Femení and Chelsea FC Women battled to be crowned champions of Europe.
After beating Bayern München and Paris Saint-Germain in the semifinals, Chelsea and Barcelona were ready to square off to conquer the European title. Both teams were fresh off the top spot in their leagues, respectively the FA WSL for Chelsea and the Primera Divisíon for Barcelona, and have played spectacularly in each game leading up to the Champions League final.
The English team coached by Emma Hayes had only suffered one loss in the entire 20/21 season and sailed through each game with a confident squad. Led by captain and Swedish international Magdalena Eriksson, the team boasted some of the finest players from all over the world, in particular the spotlight was focused on Australian prodigy Sam Kerr and Denmark’s captain and top scorer Pernille Harder. The two forwards tried to put the pedal to the metal during the game, increasing the few scoring chances for Chelsea but none of them managed to make the difference in the end.
The Catalan team came into the game with high expectations and eager to win. Still healing from the harsh defeat at the hands of a brilliant Olympique Lyonnais in 2019 for 4-1, Barcelona's 2020 UWCL journey was also cut short in the semifinals by a 1-0 defeat from Wolfsburg.
But the Blaugrana did not let previous experiences dictate their special night and put up an amazing performance that earned them the well-fought trophy.
As Göteborg hosted the triumphal night, Lluis Cortes’ team made history by becoming the first Spanish women’s team to ever win the Champions League and being the only football club to have won the competition with both the male and female team.
Chelsea’s luck ran off as soon as the game started with an own goal from Melanie Leupolz within the first thirty seconds of playing time. At minute 2’ Pernille Harder got close to seal a 1-1 for Chelsea, but she did not manage to beat goalkeeper Sandra Paños. Another chance for Harder arrived on minute 9’, when Sam Kerr served her a perfect backheel but Spanish defender Marta Torrejón was quick to clear the ball before Harder could capitalize on it. Kerr herself tried to score in the second half of the game around the 70’ mark, but her header did not find the back of the net.
The sailing proceeded smoothly on Barcelona’s side. After Leupolz’s own goal, it took less than fifteen minutes for captain Alexia Putellas to score the 2-0 on a penalty kick gained by Jenni Hermoso. After only twenty minutes of playing time, Putellas came through again serving 23-year-old Aitana Bonmatí that did not miss her golden chance and scored the 3-0 for Barcelona. Putellas and Bonmatí became the second and third Spanish players to score in a Champions League final (after Vero Boquete in 2014 with Tyresö).
Chelsea’s fate was sealed when forward Lieke Martens set up a brilliant play to assist Caroline Graham Hansen and Barcelona went up 4-0 on the scoreboard. The Blaugrana became one of the two teams to ever score four goals in a Champions League final, second only to aforementioned Lyon in 2019.
The dream has finally come true for FC Barcelona, after winning the Primera Divisíon for the sixth time and advancing to the semifinals of Copa de la Reina (set to take place later this May), the Catalan team has proudly raised the Champions League trophy for the first time in history.