UWCL Semifinal: Barcelona one-up Chelsea in first leg

Geyse of FC Barcelona battles for possession with Magdalena Eriksson of Chelsea.
Geyse of FC Barcelona battles for possession with Magdalena Eriksson of Chelsea during the UEFA Women's Champions League semifinal on April 22, 2023. (Photo by Alex Broadway/Getty Images)

With a spot in the Champions League final awaiting the winner, Chelsea welcomed Barcelona to Stamford Bridge for the first leg of the semifinal.

The Catalonians edged out a 1-0 lead on blue soil, looking to repeat the last time these two sides met. Back in May 2021, Barcelona secured the Champions League title after a 4-0 victory over Emma Hayes’ side.

Chelsea vs. Barcelona — Starting XIs

Chelsea: Berger; Carter, Leupolz, Reiten, Perisset, Eriksson (c), Mjelde, Kerr, Charles, Cuthbert, Cankovic

Barcelona: Pãnos; Paredes, María León, Graham, Patri, Aitana, Bronze, Rolfö, Paralluelo, Geyse, Walsh

How it went

A strong start from the visitors saw Barcelona go a goal up just four minutes into the tie. A rocket of a strike from almost 20 yards out from Caroline Graham Hansen put the home side on the back foot almost from the off.

As the game continued, both sides had several good chances—although neither were able to capitalise. Guro Reiten appeared to find the equaliser for the hosts in the 26th minute; however, her goal was quickly ruled offside.

The first half drew to a close with Barcelona still holding a narrow lead over their opposition.

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The second half saw an initial strong spell of play from the hosts with the Blues having several good passages of play. But it wasn’t long until the visitors regained control of the game—giving Hayes’ side plenty of defensive work.

Barcelona and England fans will no doubt have been concerned to see Lucy Bronze coming off the pitch with an apparent knee injury in the 67th minute. The defender went down off the ball and was replaced by Marta Torrejón.

More chances followed for both sides with Lauren James providing several excellent runs down the wing. Ultimately, the game would finish with the visitors carrying a slender lead into the second leg.

Chelsea vs. Barcelona — Next leg

Chelsea and Barcelona will meet for the return leg in just five days on Thursday, April 27. Camp Nou will play host with the winner of the tie taking the first spot in this year’s Champions League final on Saturday, June 3.

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