Teamwork makes the dream work

Emma Hayes and Chelsea denied fairytale ending as Barcelona attain Girls’s Champions League closing


FROM STAMFORD BRIDGE – Emma Hayes might have performed down the importance of this match previous to kick-off, nevertheless it was tough to flee the magnitude of the tie at Stamford Bridge on Saturday.

The supervisor is about to depart Chelsea on the finish of the season for pastures new in the US and a semi-final conflict towards Barcelona offered one closing alternative to achieve the Champions League closing and transfer inside touching distance of European glory.

Jonatan Giraldez’s facet have emerged as certainly one of Chelsea’s meanest obstacles in recent times. The west London membership had been comfortably crushed 4-0 by Barcelona within the 2021 closing and final season’s dream was ended by the Catalan giants as soon as once more, this time on the semi-final stage, with a 2-1 combination rating over two legs.

This time period, there was a glimmer of hope issues can be totally different. Hayes’ facet went to Barcelona every week in the past and edged a slim, however essential, one-goal victory.

A heroic defensive show from Jess Carter and co left Barcelona pissed off as they fell to their first residence defeat in 5 years. However, it was solely half-time and Chelsea knew they nonetheless had a mammoth job forward of them.

Regardless of a welcomed return to the squad for a handful of defenders, Chelsea had been handed a major blow pre-match with the absence of January signing Mayra Ramirez. Hayes revealed post-match she withdrew from the squad after coaching on Friday.

It was Catarina Macario and Lauren James who had been tasked with main the road for Chelsea on the evening. Each seemed energetic within the opening phases, nevertheless it was Barcelona who took the lead within the first-half at Stamford Bridge.

Aitana Bonmati did what she does greatest and drove ahead to get a shot away. It took a lucky deflection off Kadeisha Buchanan and flew past Hannah Hampton and into the again of the web.

Aitana Bonmati, Sjoeke Nuesken

Aitana Bonmati celebrates Barcelona’s opening aim towards Chelsea within the UEFA Girls’s Champions League semi-final second leg at Stamford Bridge / Naomi Baker/GettyImages

Chelsea, although, seemed destined to equalise earlier than the break. Melanie Leupolz rattled the crossbar with an effort from six yards out, it was an abysmal miss. Though, the midfielder’s blushes might have been saved by a potential offside within the build-up.

Quickly after, Sjoeke Nusken picked up a unfastened ball within the field from Barcelona defender Irene Paredes. As a substitute of taking the shot on, she tried to sq. it, hoping it could be met by a blue shirt.

It was. However, Johanna Rytting Kaneryd couldn’t fairly kind her toes to get a shot away and as a substitute it fell to Erin Cuthbert. The Scot was the hero final week with the one aim of the sport, and but, this time her effort was excessive and extensive.

Chelsea had their justifiable share of possibilities however the second-half noticed every thing unravel earlier than their very eyes. Buchanan picked up two yellow playing cards within the house of 5 minutes and was given her marching orders.

Ashley Lawrence then conceded a penalty, which Fridolina Rolfo cooly dispatched, to place Barcelona within the driving seat for the primary time within the tie. Chelsea had misplaced all management and quarter-hour remained for them to rework their fortunes.

There was one closing roll of the cube for Hayes with lower than 10 minutes on the clock. Millie Shiny made her lengthy awaited return, albeit as a striker, whereas Fran Kirby and Eve Perisset took to the pitch for Lawrence and Rytting Kaneryd.

The Chelsea boss painted a pissed off determine on the touchline because the clock ticked down. Fingers positioned behind her head, she watched because the guests managed possession and comfortably handed round these in blue.

Regardless of a late free-kick deep into added time, the hosts had been unable to muster up any clear minimize possibilities to maintain their hopes alive.

A sell-out crowd for Hayes’ closing recreation at Stamford Bridge, however the fairytale ending merely wasn’t to be. Chelsea will go once more in Europe subsequent season, however with a distinct supervisor on the helm.

Emma Hayes

Chelsea boss Emma Hayes leaves the pitch at Stamford Bridge following her facet’s defeat to Barcelona within the UEFA Girls’s Champions League / Naomi Baker/GettyImages

“Up till the second yellow we had been on prime,” the Chelsea boss stated post-match. “It was us that had simply hit the submit.

“I might really feel the momentum of the group and the gamers. The official has made a horrific resolution [sending off Buchanan]. I believe that is the arduous half, once you work so arduous over the times, weeks and months, you count on the very best from the officers on the very least. It is actually arduous to take.”

What was as soon as a quadruple chase has shortly diminished right into a push for one more league title. A race that Manchester Metropolis at present lead each on factors and aim distinction.

Chelsea are prone to ending the season with out silverware and it could be a merciless means for Hayes to finish her time on the membership after greater than a decade of service – nevertheless it definitely wouldn’t dampen her legacy.

Hayes has reworked not solely the membership, however she’s been an integral determine within the speedy progress of the ladies’s recreation in England over time. The Girls’s Tremendous League merely gained’t be the identical with out her.

Her European dream with Chelsea might not have been realised, however the US girls’s nationwide crew are gaining certainly one of England’s most interesting and there’s each likelihood success will observe.