Barcelona Femeni defeat Brann to secure semifinal spot

Barcelona Femeni 3-1 SK Brann (Aggr: 5-2)
PHOTO | X: @BarcaFem // Barcelona Femeni 3-1 SK Brann (Aggr: 5-2)

The Spanish giants secured a spot in the semifinals of the UEFA Women’s Champions League after defeating SK Brann over two legs in the quarterfinals. Barcelona played against Brann at home in the second leg defeating the Norwegian side 3-1 to head into the UWCL semifinals.

Barcelona had work to do to scale through the challenge posed by the Norwegian outfit following their 2-1 win away from home in the first leg. However, the Blaugrana put up a stellar performance, ending the tie with a 5-2 scoreline on aggregate.

Barca had various attempts on goal in the first few minutes, constantly mounting pressure on the opposition as they searched for an opener to ease off the pressure of the outcome of their first leg clash.

However, the Catalans had to wait until the 24th minute to register their first goal in the game through Aitana Bonmati. Barcelona stole back possession in Brann’s half, and a forward pass fell to Esmee Brugts, who laid the ball to Aitana Bonmati for Barcelona’s first goal.

The Ballon d’Or winner carefully sidestepped her marker and sent a beautiful left-footed strike beyond the goalkeeper and into the back of the net.

Despite their efforts to add to their goal, Barcelona could not get past the Brann goalkeeper for the rest of the first half. Thus, both teams headed into the tunnel at halftime with a 1-0 scoreline in favour of the home team.

The second half started with Brann playing a bit more enthusiastically; the Norwegian side constantly surged forward in a bid to get an equalizer and increase their chances of qualification.

However, in the 56th minute, a brilliant play from Aitana Bonmati and Caroline Graham Hansen down the right flank led to Barcelona’s second goal. Caroline Graham Hansen dribbled past two defenders and delivered a low pass across the face of goal. An effort to clear the ball from their goal mouth led to scrambling in defense, resulting in a loose ball that was easily tucked home by Fridolina Rolfo.

SK Brann broke free in the 76th minute and scored a brilliant goal. Svenheim’s run behind Lucy Bronze was rewarded with a sumptuous pass, and the forward’s strike cannoned off the base of the post and into the back of the net to set the stage for a dramatic final minute.

All hopes of a possible comeback that Brann might have been harboring were soon put to the sword when Patri Guijaaro scored Barcelona’s third goal in the 88th minute. An exquisite solo run from Graham Hansen led to a cutback for Aitana Bonmati to smash the ball home for another Barcelona goal. However, the midfielder’s attempt was heading out of play before Patir Guijarro, who was lurking at the back post, tapped the ball in from close range.

Barcelona Femeni’s 3-1 victory at home, coupled with their 2-1 first leg win, led to an aggregate scoreline of 5-2 and a semifinal spot for the defending champions. Barcelona’s progress set up an intriguing game against Chelsea in the semifinals.

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