Barcelona have won their first ever Women’s Champions League after beating Chelsea 4-0.
Lluis Cortes’ side gained redemption for their 4-1 loss to Lyon in 2019’s final by emphatically trouncing Chelsea at the Gamla Ullevi in Gothenburg.
Emma Hayes’ side, who were making their first ever Champions League final appearance, have seen their hopes of a historic quadruple dashed.
Chelsea got off to a nightmare start, when the ball looped into their net after just 33 seconds. Lieke Martens hit the bar and Barcelona kept the ball alive in the Chelsea box until Fran Kirby’s hit team-mate Melanie Leupolz and floated into the Chelsea net.
Barcelona doubled their advantage shortly after from the penalty spot. Leupolz’s trailing leg appeared to catch Hermoso, and captain Alexia Putellas coolly slotted home from the box.
The Spanish side continued to grow in confidence and began playing some sumptuous football. They made their dominance count with two further goals in the half, courtesy of Aitana Bonmati and Caroline Hansen Graham.
Chelsea started the second half on a brighter note but Barcelona defended their four-goal cushion comfortable.
How significant is the win?
After a painful hammering in 2019, Barcelona can firmly claim their position among Europe’s elite sides after lifting the holy grail of football on the continent.
After marauding through their domestic league, with a jaw-dropping 26 wins out of 26 games, Barcelona have become the first Spanish side to win the Champions League.
Overall, it is a historic season for Barcelona, who add their first European cup alongside a record sixth league title.
For Emma Hayes, it was an important step in her side’s progress to reach the final — becoming the first English team to reach this stage since 2007 — but it will ultimately be back to the drawing board after being overwhelmingly outclassed on the grandest stage.
Chelsea were only defeated once in the WSL this season but finished just two points ahead of Manchester City.
How special are this Barcelona side?
It’s difficult to understate how wonderful they are. The world knows of their prowess in the league: 128 goals scored — almost twice as many as Chelsea — and just five conceded, but to see it in the flesh was a totally different proposition and arguably, many were guilty of underestimating just how much they have to offer offensively.
Much of the conversation this season has focused on how difficult it has been for sides, in both the WSL and Europe, to pin down Sam Kerr and Kirby given their versatility, speed of thought and range of movement. Hansen, Martens and Jenni Hermoso tonight were like Kirby, Kerr and Harder upgraded. Carter andCharles had no riposte up against their ethereal floating and zipping.
Neither did Sophie Ingle, so often dominant at the base of midfield, or Ji, habitually Chelsea’s midfield fulcrum. For those players — the finest WSL team ever assembled — to be dismantled like this speaks volumes about how good Barcelona are.
Barcelona’s back line and midfield knew what Chelsea were going to do even before Hayes did.
They read this game superbly, pressed so effectively and allied that intelligence with their clear athleticism. It was so tough to imagine how Chelsea, even on far better form than they demonstrated here, would have been able to stop that forward line completely.
Put simply: there was no weak link in that Barcelona side but too many in the Chelsea one.
What happens next?
While a quadruple is now out of reach, Emma Hayes will be hoping to make it a clean sweep of domestic trophies this season. Her side take on Everton in the fifth round of the FA Cup on Thursday, May 20.
For Barcelona, they have a brief moment to relish in their victory after an excellent season. In the longer-term, they will be hoping to replicate Lyon’s dominance in the women’s game.