It had been an opportunity to jet-propel British girls’s soccer into one other stratosphere. It held out the prospect of a aspect inside British shores changing into the primary to say the ladies’s and males’s Champions League trophies in the identical season. However Chelsea have been dealt a brutal footballing lesson final night time in a devastating first half which delivered Barcelona and Spain a primary European title.
Emma Hayes’ gamers have been out-thought and out-muscled in 45 minutes of soccer which left them gasping for air, although the emphatic score-line owed one thing to the 4 clear possibilities which Danish striker Pernille Tougher couldn’t put away. The counter-attacking menace evident all season didn’t materialise towards a bodily and technically superior aspect.
The biblical pre-match rain had cleared and blue skies had materialised by the point Hayes’ gamers took to the sphere in robust spirits, Sam Kerr leaping to move in off the underside of the cross bar in one of many warm-up drills.
Barcelona have been topped European Champions with a shocking 4-0 victory over Chelsea
It was a disappointing night for Chelsea who conceded 4 targets in a disastrous first half
They have been taking part in on sacred floor, the place the story of British sides dealing with Spanish favourites in Europe is anxious. It was on the adjoining Ullevi stadium that Sir Alex Ferguson’s Aberdeen defeated Actual Madrid in 1983, the primary European prize for a supervisor with whom Hayes has justifiably been in contrast.
One of many only a few questions that Hayes had quick shrift for in a pre-match press dialogue got here from the Spanish journalist who put it to her that Barcelona have been favourites. She doesn’t go in for that psych-ops routine during which managers declare to have minimal probability as a way to prevail.
But it surely was for good motive that the bookmakers favoured Barcelona. The membership may need spent nothing final summer season, whereas Chelsea have been paying a world file price for Pernille Tougher, however they’ve constructed one thing very substantial. A membership whose groups are all imbued with the Cruyff philosophy and which has made particular person health programmes for gamers a precedence ever since a 4-1 annihilation by Lyon in within the 2019 ultimate underlined a bodily deficit that they knew needed to be matched. That ultimate has haunted Barcelona ever since.
Chelsea had disastrous begin as Melanie Leupolz scored an personal aim after only one minute
Alexia Putellas fired residence a penalty to place Barca in management solely 14 minutes into the ultimate
Barca captain Putellas celebrates after placing her aspect 2-0 up in Gothemburg
It was Chelsea who discovered how the expertise felt, final night time. For the younger full backs Niamh Charles and Jess Carter, who bore a horrible brunt in a punishing first half which left the workforce 4 targets in arrears, it will taking some recovering from.
Lieke Martens’ match up on the Spanish left towards Charles, who had been excellent within the semi-final, was a very brutal one. Throughout the pitch Carter was humbled by Caroline Graham Hansen, again and again.
Barcelona tore out of the blocks in a method which left Chelsea reeling and unable to know what was hitting them. The sport was a mere simply 30 seconds previous when Martens raced away from Charles and curled a shot towards the bar. Chelsea have been unable to organise themselves because the ball dropped and after a sequence of pinball soccer, the ball fell to Fran Kirby, whose tried clearance ricocheted in of Melanie Leupolz.
It was misfortune and but a grave premonition of the Spanish menace. Hayes’ aspect might have twice established parity by means of Penille Tougher in a chaotic opening ten minutes, although Barcelona have been merely faster in motion and thought. The defenders have been merely unable to maintain up with their crisp, exact exchanges of possession as they fell 3-0 behind inside a gap half hour which successfully killed the match.
Aitana Bonmati completed off a slick transfer to get Barca’s third after solely 20 minutes
Caroline Graham Hansen added to Chelsea’s woes with a fourth earlier than half time
Martens’ menace was significantly brutal. She uncovered the excessive defensive place Mille Shiny had taken on 14 minutes and raced into the Chelsea third, despatching Caroline Graham Hansen who barged by means of the specter of Jess Carter. The Norwegian induced extra panic by chopping again to Jenni Hermoso, who was caught by Leupolz’s standing leg to safe the penalty that captain Alexia Putellas dinked in.
Martens demonstrated her superiority once more for the third, racing in direction of the byline to set off a one-touch aim of fairly lovely geometry. Hermoso eased a move again for Putellas, whose precision fist-time ball, punched by means of the strains, discovered the darting transfer of Aitana Bonmati who drew Ann-Katrin Berger and rolled the ball in by means of her legs.
Martens outmuscled Charles once more for the fourth, chopping again from the byline for Graham Hansen who was sooner to the ball to Charles to poke in.
Hayes gathered the gamers collectively at this stage, although honestly there appeared little she might carry. This was the identical ‘carousel’ that left Ferguson wanting so misplaced after his Manchester United aspect’s defeat to Pep Guardiola’s Barcelona at Wembley, ten years in the past this month. Hayes’ choices have been restricted. Guro Reiten, who arrived for Leupolz after the break, present help towards Martens. However the younger full-backs have been left to search out what solutions they might.
It was a bitterly disappointing night time for Emma Hayes and her aspect who have been the second finest
The Barca celebrations had began lengthy earlier than full-time with Chelsea unable to combat again
The supervisor’s phrases on the interval did assist. Chelsea confirmed indicators of a restoration. They pressed excessive and started discovering Kirby, the excellent participant of their home season, couldn’t discover the touches to play her workforce in. Tougher one way or the other managed to spurn one other probability after Reiten’s free kick offered an elementary header. She additionally tried to search out Sam Kerr when she ought to have volleyed one other probability. A harm limitation train was the most effective if could possibly be.
For Hayes, it was an evening which steered the trophy she has made a quest of successful is a long way off. Her relentless power and drive inform us that this expertise shall be a defining one for her workforce. However even she is going to take a while to get well.