Barcelona produced a sensational display to earn UEFA Women’s Champions League final victory against Chelsea, becoming the competition’s eighth different winners.
On their final debut two years ago, Barcelona fell 4-0 down to Lyon within half an hour. This time, they surged 4-0 up in little more time – and they took the lead inside the opening minute, after Lieke Martens hit the bar and Fran Kirby’s clearance ricocheted in off the luckless Melanie Leupolz.
Both teams then went close in a chaotic spell, but on 12 minutes Leupolz fouled Jenni Hermoso in the Chelsea box, enabling Alexia Putellas to dispatch a penalty. Alexia, a pre-match injury doubt, then played a brilliant ball to set up the determined Aitana Bonmati for the third.
The other star on the Barça left, Martens, produced a fine solo run and cutback for Graham Hansen to make it four on 36 minutes. For Chelsea, there was no coming back.
Barcelona have a perfect record in the Spanish league this season, which they won with eight games to spare, and showed their intent with their quarter-final first-leg display against Manchester City in Monza. But few would have predicted what happened in the first half here.
Seven of the starters tonight began the 2019 final against Lyon and many had spoken of the hard lesson learned that day. Now it was Chelsea’s turn to be undone in their debut final, with Alexia and Martens as unplayable on the Barcelona left as the Blaugrana had found Ada Hegerberg in Budapest.
With Hermoso so difficult to pin down up front, Bonmati keeping up her stellar form this season, and with Graham Hansen allowing no respite for Chelsea on their own left, the English champions just could not contain their opponents until the game was gone.
Pernille Harder, twice beaten in finals with Wolfsburg, played with a determination that her own final disappointment would not be repeated. But for once this season it was not Harder, Kirby and Sam Kerr conjuring chances at will for Chelsea; the Blues’ defense instead found themselves at the mercy of one of the deadliest attacking displays in this competition’s 20-year-history.