Teamwork makes the dream work

Barcelona 3-1 SK Brann (Mar 28, 2024) Sport Evaluation

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Champions League holders Barcelona beat Brann 3-1 on Thursday on the Estadi Johan Cruyff to arrange a repeat of final yr’s semifinal in opposition to Chelsea.

Ballon d’Or winner Aitana Bonmatí and Fridolina Rolfö netted both aspect of half-time to ease Barça right into a two-goal lead, however Tomine Svendheim‘s strike introduced the guests again into the sport.

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Any hopes of an unlikely Brann comeback have been extinguished late on by a Patri Guijarro tap-in because the Spanish champions secured a 5-2 combination victory to e book their place within the final 4 for the sixth consecutive season.

Chelsea, who knocked out Ajax on Tuesday, await within the subsequent spherical in a tie which pits two United States-bound coaches in opposition to one another: Emma Hayes, supervisor of the English aspect, will take over the USWNT in the summertime, whereas Barça’s Jonatan Giráldez will transfer to Washington Spirit.

Giráldez acquired the higher of Hayes when the 2 met final yr and the Blaugrana, who’ve been in 4 of the final 5 finals and gained two of them, together with one in opposition to Chelsea in 2021, will begin the semifinal as favourites.

Barça have been anticipated to blow Brann away and it was considerably of a shock that they solely gained 2-1 in Bergen final week in opposition to the Norwegian aspect, who’ve been one of many shock packages of this yr’s competitors.

Barcelona gamers have fun after clinching a spot within the Ladies’s Champions League semifinals.

They as soon as once more confirmed their defensive nous in Barcelona on Thursday as the house workforce dominated the primary half however solely had one purpose to indicate for his or her efforts on the break.

Norway‘s Caroline Graham Hansen, booed by the 600 travelling supporters due to her previous with rivals Stabaek, was vigorous early on, rousing the group at each given second earlier than drawing save from worldwide teammate Aurora Mikalsen.

Mikalsen additionally saved properly from a Irene Paredes header earlier than Bonmatí brilliantly opened the scoring within the twenty fourth minute, curling into the nook after good work from Esme Brugts and two-time Ballon d’Or winner Alexia Putellas, not too long ago again from surgical procedure.

Putellas then created two possibilities for Mariona Caldentey, however they have been wasted as Barça didn’t construct on their lead earlier than half-time.

The second purpose ultimately arrived within the 56th minute. Roflo scored it — the Sweden left-back’s third in seven video games since getting back from damage — nevertheless it was all about Graham Hansen, even when the help will not formally be added to her exceptional 51 purpose contributions already accrued this season.

Any hopes of winding down within the ultimate 20 minutes disappeared, although, when Svendheim completed a Brann counter off the submit in entrance of the noisy visiting followers simply seconds after Caldentey had missed a one-on-one on the different finish.

Rolfo then hit the submit as each groups exchanged possibilities in an open ending earlier than Guijarro sealed the win, ending on the far submit after extra wizardry on the wing from Graham Hansen and a miscued end from Bonmatí.

Chelsea now stand between Barça and a fourth successive Champions League ultimate, whereas they continue to be on monitor to win the quadruple this season. They’ve already gained the Spanish Supercopa, are 12 factors clear in Liga F and into the Copa de la Reina ultimate.