Barcelona returns to the Champions League final through the front door
Beat PSG and bid for the second time for the continental title
Barcelona will play the Champions League final for the second time in its history after beating PSG 2-1 in the semi-final round. Lieke Martens’ double paved the way to Gothenburg, Marie-Antoinette Katoto was spicy with her goal and the azugrana knew how to suffer for an hour on the green to finish celebrating the goal.
The first half hour of play followed the script established by Barcelona. The mobility of the Barcelona offensive plot puzzled a PSG that was overwhelmed. The locals played in favor of the current from minute 10 when Lieke Martens opened the scoring. The Dutchwoman slept a long ball from Leila Ouahabi to, after winning her back to Ashley Lawrence and stepping on the area, to define perfectly with a cross shot against Tiane Endler.
Katoto put fear in the body
PSG did not know how to recover and suffered a lot with Bonmatí, Alexia, Jenni, Martes and Hansen playing between the lines. After half an hour of play, a pass from Alexia Putellas fell into the boots of Caroline Graham-Hansen, who dribbled to Perle Morroni on the baseline and crossed to the far post where Lieke Martens appeared again to put the second in the light.
This time the finery did react and they did it with their best weapon, from set pieces. A corner thrown by Sara Däbritz was cleared in the first instance by Marta Torrejón, but Marie-Antoinette Katoto was ready to anticipate Leila Ouahabi, put her leg in and surpass Sandra Paños. Since then the domain became French and Barça suffering. Ramona Bachmann and Sandie Baltimore’s band intermissions did a lot of damage to a Barcelona that was cornered in its own area.
Two balls to the stick of Barcelona and ‘Santa’ Paños
The second half was a round trip that, incomprehensibly, was consumed without goals. Barcelona was able to sentence on several occasions. Jenni Hermoso’s stick and Marta Torrejón’s crossbar with just one minute of difference could decide a match where he could not miss two high-altitude interventions by Sandra Paños, claimed as one of the best goalkeepers in the world.
The changes, more due to physical exhaustion than strategy, ended up sleeping the game in favor of a Barcelona that will once again bid for the continental crown. Unlike what happened in 2019, where they fell relentlessly to Olympique Lyonnais, now with experience and an improved version of what that squad was. The challenge of being European champions is very close and they will not stop until they achieve it.