Barcelona reaches third consecutive women’s Champions League final

Barcelona held on to a 1-1 draw against Chelsea on Thursday at Camp Nou, sealing their place in a third consecutive women’s Champions League final. Barcelona will play in their fourth Champions League summit clash in five years after winning the semifinal 2-1 on aggregate. Caroline Graham Hansen, who scored the only goal in the first leg of the semifinal last weekend, broke the deadlock for Barcelona in the second half of the game. But Guro Reiten’s quickly scored an equalizer on 67 minutes from a rebound after Sam Kerr was denied.

In front of over 72,000 fans, the third-highest attendance in the competition’s history, behind two records set by Barcelona last season, the 2021 winners held on to a nervy draw. Earlier, Barca defeated Chelsea 4-0 in the 2021 final to clinch the title. Barcelona will play either Arsenal or Wolfsburg in the Champions League final in Eindhoven on June 3.

Ballon d’Or winner Alexia Putellas was named in Barca’s squad for the first time this season after recovering from an ACL injury. But the Spanish midfielder watched on from the bench in the first half as her teammates dominated from the start. Graham Hansen had an early goal ruled out for handball. Though Barca dominated and controlled the game with ball possession and accurate passes, Mariona Caldentey and Asisat Oshoala failed to capitalize on their chances. Both blasted the ball over the bar as the hosts failed to even test visiting goalkeeper Ann-Katrin Berger.

Finally, Barca broke the deadlock in the 63rd minute. Mariona Caldentey’s shot was picked up by Aitana Bonmati, who drove forward to set up Graham Hansen. The Norway winger finished clinically to open the scoring. However, Chelsea craved an instant response when Erin Cuthbert won the ball with a powerful tackle on Caldentey, allowing Melanie Leupolz to release Kerr. Barcelona goalkeeper Sandra Panos hindered the Australian striker but Reiten was in the correct position and made no mistake from 10 yards, sending the ball into the roof of the net.

Chelsea showed plenty of grit to stay in the tie against a superior Barca, becoming the first side to stop them from winning in a home match all season across all competitions. Chelsea will turn their attention back to domestic matches knowing that if they win their games in hand they will move to the top of the Women’s Super League.