Barcelona will play Chelsea in the Champions League semi-finals after beating a daring Brann | Soccer | Sports

Barcelona does not relax. Does not reduce tension. They deny the favorites poster, but they leave no room for defeat or a tie. They only recognize themselves in victory, regardless of rival or place, or even if they do not dazzle with the same light as always. And after leaving Real Madrid in the lurch last Sunday, this time the victim was Brann. The team led by Jonatan Giráldez continued steadily on its way through Europe, this time towards the sixth consecutive semi-final of the European competition after beating a daring Brann with goals from Aitana Bonmatí, Fridolina Rolfö and Patri Guijarro in the quarter-final second leg. of the Champions League (3-1). And although the Blaugranas were more erratic than in the first leg, Barça wanted to show that they have no rival at home.

FCBFFC Barcelona Women


Cata Coll, Lucy Bronze, Irene Paredes, Ingrid Engen, Fridolina Rolfö, Keira Walsh, Aitana Bonmatí, Alexia Putellas, Mariona Caldentey, Caroline Graham Hansen and Esmee Brugts



Aurora Mikalsen, Ingrid Stenevik, Joanna Tynnilä, Marthine Østenstad, Karoline Haugland, Marit Bratberg Lund, Cecilie Kvamme, Justine Kielland, Signe Gaupset, Rakel Engesvik and Larissa Crummer

Goals 1-0 min. 23: Aitana Bonmatí. 2-0 min. 55: Fridolina Rolfö. 2-1 min. 69: Tomine Svendheim. 3-1 min. 88: Patri Guijarro.

Referee Ivana Martincic

Yellow cards Ingrid Stenevik (min. 60) and Irene Paredes (min. 62)

They landed in Barcelona with the tie open after the 1-2 in the first leg on the cold artificial grass of Bergen, with goals from the pichichis of the team—Salma Paralluelo and Graham Hansen—. But in the Barça fiefdom, where the team led by Giráldez becomes giant, there was an eleven of absences, and of surprises. Alexia Putellas returned to the starting lineup—instead of Patri Guijarro—in the Champions League for the first time after his return. That last time was against Benfica in the group stage on November 14, where his left knee gave way again and he took it off the pitch after scoring two goals. And Ona Batlle was also missing, warned and replaced by Lucy Bronze, and Salma Paralluelo – the team’s top scorer along with Graham Hansen –, replaced by Esmee Brugts. Brann repeated the starting lineup, and tried to emulate the game from the first leg: presenting themselves as the main opposition to the control of the ball – although without success – and defending solidly to end up going on the counterattack, protected by a wall in the goal.

At the Johan Cruyff Stadium, the Brann players found shelter in the stands: the fans who had traveled from Norway jumped and cheered. But a packed stadium — 5,510 spectators, the second best crowd in Johan’s history — struggled to silence the visitors. And if in the first leg against Barcelona they had plenty of chances and lacked goals, this time no one managed to finish off the crosses at the start of the game. Thickness was established in the midfield of the Blaugrana, and the players seemed not to find each other, but neither did they recognize each other. Few dared to shoot at the rival goal during the first minutes: only Aitana Bonmatí and Graham Hansen tested her. Mikalsen celebrated a first save against the Norwegian winger, the fratricide of the first leg who left the Bergen field between whistles. Although the noise never bothered her.

But the Norwegian goalkeeper couldn’t stop the Ballon d’Or: Alexia controlled with her chest for the young Brugts, who saw Aitana run and didn’t think twice. The Catalan turned, perfectly, on herself before shooting and scoring a goal that had her name written on it and that is now a regular occurrence for the player. The stadium roared: the semifinals were closer than ever. And Aitana did not hesitate to run and hug Alexia to celebrate the goal.

Signe Gaupset, one of the revelations of the Champions League, was the thermometer of her own team. Brann, brave and daring, tried to press until he suffocated the Blaugrana, aware that they had nothing to lose, and placed a low block in the area to stop Barcelona’s constant attacks. Although there is one player incapable of stopping: Graham sneaked into the area, avoiding the rivals, and after an accident at the hands of Mikalsen and the Norwegian defense, Rolfö took the opportunity to push the ball and score his third goal since returning from his injury .

But against Brann, a mistake pays dearly. Coming from behind, the Norwegians knew how to take advantage of Barcelona’s defensive imbalances, and Svendheim sneaked behind Lucy Bronze to score the Norwegians’ first goal and attempt the impossible. And although a draw in the match was an achievable horizon, Patri Guijarro came on for Alexia to score the third and close the pass to the Champions League semi-final. The rival, Chelsea. A deja vu of last season, and that Barcelona will try to repeat to stand in San Mamés and fight to lift, for the third time, the trophy.

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