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      Can Chelsea find a way past Barcelona?

      Women's Champions League semi-final preview

      2024/04/18 11:17
      E3

      The Women's Champions League returns and we're down to just the final four teams as we wonder if anyone can stop Barcelona.

      Emma Hayes will be hoping her Chelsea side can win over both legs with both sides knowing that they will face a French team should they progress to the final.

      Let's begin with that big first-leg clash in Catalonia first...


      Barcelona vs. Chelsea

      @Getty /
      The Blues bounced back from a tough period of losing the Conti Cup final to Arsenal and being knocked out of the FA Cup at the semi-final stage by Manchester United when they defeated Aston Villa to return to the top of the WSL on Wednesday evening.

      Chelsea were helped midweek by Anna Leat making a save from outside the box in an attempt to prevent a certain goal which led to the Villa goalkeeper being sent off inside the first five minutes. From there it was all too easy for Chelsea with Agnes Beever-Jones, Maika Hamano, and Kadeisha Buchanan all finding the net in a 3-0 victory.

      But Saturday's fixture should be far more difficult in a repeat of last season's Champions League semi-finals.

      Those games were close with Barça eventually winning 2-1 on aggregate. Caroline Graham Hansen gave her side a 1-0 advantage at Stamford Bridge in the first leg last time before she struck again in the 1-1 draw in Barcelona with fellow Norwegian Guro Reiten scoring Chelsea's only goal of the tie.

      Of course, Barcelona then went on to win the final against Wolfsburg and they still look like the best team in Europe this term.

      As ever, Barça are in full control of the Spanish league having won 22 and drawn just one of their 23 games this season, scoring 102 goals in the process and conceding just six!

      In fact, Barcelona have won all but two games all season long and are still undefeated in the 2023/24 season. Only Benfica (a 4-4 draw in Lisbon thanks to Lucy Bronze's late equaliser) and Levante (a 1-1 draw in February) have managed to prevent Jonatan Giráldez's side from winning.

      Can Chelsea do it then? Yes, but you suspect that everything has to go their way if so.


      Lyon vs. Paris Saint-Germain

      @Lyon
      Two familiar foes will fight for the other spot in the final in an all-French clash.

      Looking at the league table, Lyon as usual look like favourites going into this. Manager Sonia Bompastor has been tipped to succeed Emma Hayes at Chelsea and her team are way ahead of challengers PSG in the league – with a nine-point lead having been undefeated all season.

      Lyon haven't had it all their own way this season. They were knocked out of the Coupe de France at the semi-final stage by FC Fleury on penalties last month and promptly got their revenge just days later by winning 4-0 in the league.

      Les Fenottes also had some good news going into this one with Ada Hegerberg extending her contract at the club until 2027 – the 28-year-old has scored 17 times in 21 games for the club so far this season.

      Meanwhile, PSG know all too well how frustrating it is to go toe-to-toe with Lyon as they struggle to topple the serial winners.

      In the last 10 meetings between the two, the Parisian side have managed to win just once (a 1-0 victory last season with Kadidiatou Diani scoring a late winner). 

      However, Jocelyn Prêcheur's side were very close to another victory back in February. Tabitha Chawinga had put Lyon ahead but that goal was cancelled late on by Elisa De Almeida's own goal.

      Chawinga could be the key to victory for PSG though. The Malawian forward is one of the most prolific in Europe this season with 25 goals and 13 assists in 31 games since arriving at the club at the start of the season.

      Much like Chelsea, PSG will be the underdogs in this tie but they certainly have the talent to win it.

      Poll
      POLL RESULTS
      BARCELONA
      DRAW
      CHELSEA

      Comments

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      motivo:
      JW
      2024-04-18 12h42m by jwhiteheadbarnes
      As a Chelsea fan, I am ecstatic to see our team in the final four of the Women's Champions League. The loss in the Conti Cup final and FA Cup semi-finals was tough, but we bounced back and are now at the top of the WSL. I have faith in Emma Hayes and the team, and I know we can come out on top against Barcelona. Let's go Blues!
      HT
      2024-04-18 12h02m by hturnerford
      As a Chelsea fan, I'm excited to see them face Barcelona in the Women's Champions League. It's going to be a tough match, but I have faith in our team's abilities. Let's show them what we're made of and bring home the win!
      OM
      2024-04-18 11h46m by omitchellsonjones
      As a Chelsea fan, I'm thrilled to see my team back on track and topping the WSL table. But now, all eyes are on the Champions League and our crucial first-leg clash with Barcelona. Emma Hayes has built a strong squad and I have full faith that we can come out on top. Bring on the French team in the final, we're ready for the challenge!
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