Emma Hayes focused on second leg after historic win for Chelsea in Barcelona

By Sports Desk April 20, 2024 87

Emma Hayes had mixed feelings despite seeing Chelsea condemn holders Barcelona to a first home defeat for five years and edge closer to the Champions League final.

Erin Cuthbert’s first-half goal clinched a precious 1-0 semi-final first-leg win at the Estadi Olimpic Lluis Companys to set the Women’s Super League leaders up perfectly for the return at Stamford Bridge next Saturday.

It was a first competitive victory for the Blues over Barca, who knocked them out at the same stage last season on their way to a second European title, and came courtesy of a superb defensive effort – but boss Hayes was left wondering what might have been.

She told DAZN: “It’s just half-time. Nobody should get carried away with that and to be honest, I’m disappointed we didn’t get the second goal.

“It’s a difficult place to come and they carried out the game plan I asked them to do – so from that perspective, I’m happy.”

The Blues had to soak up early pressure but did so to such effect that Barca did not muster a single shot on target during a tense encounter.

Cuthbert’s 40th-minute strike gave the visitors the lead and, having seen French referee Stephanie Frappart reverse her decision to award a penalty against Kadeisha Buchanan for handball after the break, they might have increased their advantage.

Salma Paralluelo and substitute Alexia Putellas could have salvaged a draw amid a late flurry but Chelsea held firm.

Hayes is well aware of the threat Barcelona will pose in the second leg.

Hayes said: “I think I know how to come away from home and get a result. We have under-performed against Barcelona at home.

“Barcelona have another level in them and I think that’s clear. Maybe they don’t feel they were at their best today and we have to anticipate that.”

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Last modified on Saturday, 20 April 2024 11:32
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