Barca reach final with 'worst decision in Women's Champions League history'

Chelsea manager furious with the decisions that went against her side

AFP April 28, 2024


Chelsea boss Emma Hayes claimed Barcelona benefitted from the "worst decision in Women's Champions League history" as the holders reached the final with a controversial 2-0 win on Saturday.

Trailing 1-0 from the semi-final first leg, Jonatan Giraldez's side took the lead through Ballon d'Or winner Aitana Bonmati at Stamford Bridge.

Chelsea's Kadeisha Buchanan was sent off in the second half for a contentious second booking.

And Fridolina Rolfo wrapped up Barcelona's 2-1 aggregate victory with a debatable penalty.

In the final in Bilbao on May 25, Barca will face either Paris Saint-Germain or Lyon, who meet in the second leg of their semi-final on Sunday with Lyon holding a 3-2 lead.

It will be Barca's fourth successive final berth as they look to lift the trophy for the third time.

Hayes was furious with the decisions that went against her side, saying: "The second half we were coming on top. Then when you get such a shocking officiating decision, there's nothing you can do about it.

"It's hard when you've got 11. When you've got 10 it's virtually impossible.

"Even the Barca players said they knew the referee was helpful for them. I didn't think it was a foul, let alone a yellow card.

"I was surprised when I saw the referee selected. She's famous for easy cards. I think that's probably the worst decision in Women's Champions League history."

Chelsea's first-leg victory last week is the only defeat Barca have suffered this season, ending the club's five-year unbeaten record on home turf.

Hayes, who leaves to take charge of the USA women's national team at the end of this season, said Chelsea would have to produce a perfect display to overcome "the best team in the world" again in the rematch.

Chelsea were unable to rise to the challenge and their wait for a first Champions League crown goes on.

They have now lost to Barca in successive Champions League semi-finals after being beaten by the Spanish club in the 2021 final.

"We are very happy. We deserved the victory. The first leg we were not better than the opponent. Today we created more clear chances," Giraldez said.

"The connection with the players is amazing. I'm proud of them. I'm really happy to get another final. It's special."

Bonmati fired an early warning shot that Hannah Hampton dived to her right to save.

It was a threat that Chelsea failed to heed and Bonmati punished them to open the scoring in the 25th minute.

Conceding possession in sloppy fashion, Chelsea were unable to stop Bonmati, who cleverly side-stepped Niamh Charles on the edge of the area before unloading a fierce strike that deflected in off Buchanan.

Hayes' side should have levelled when Sjoeke Nusken lunged for a shot that cannoned back off the post early in the second half.

To her intense frustration, Buchanan received her marching orders in the 59th minute after a challenge on Patri Guijarro that appeared to take the ball but was deemed worthy of a second yellow card.

Barca delivered the knockout blow in the 75th minute when Bonmati was fouled in the area by Jess Carter and Ashley Lawrence.

Once again Chelsea complained vehemently but Rolfo stepped up to send Hampton the wrong way with a composed spot-kick as Barca wrapped up another final appearance.


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