Emma Hayes seethes after dream Chelsea goodbye ruined, Barcelona advances

Fridolina Rolfo enjoys Barcelona's second goal in their Champions League triumph at Chelsea.

Fridolina Rolfo enjoys Barcelona's second goal in their Champions League triumph at Chelsea. Photo: Getty

Chelsea’s hopes of winning a first Women’s Champions League title have been ended as champions Barcelona overturned a first-leg deficit to win 2-0 at Stamford Bridge and progress to the final.

Fridolina Rolfo fired home from the penalty spot with 15 minutes to play to complete Barca’s fightback and seal a 2-1 aggregate victory, after Emma Hayes’ side had been made to endure the final half hour on Saturday with 10 players following the sending off of Kadeisha Buchanan.

Hayes, who’s leaving Chelsea to take up the US national job, called the sending-off decision the “worst in Women’s Champions League history”.

“We didn’t have the opportunity to lose it,” she said. “It was taken away.”

Barca had levelled the tie via a fine finish from Ballon d’Or winner Aitana Bonmati by the time the Chelsea defender saw red.

Reaching for a loose ball inside the centre circle, she landed a foot on the ankle of Patri Guijarro and referee Iuliana Demetrescu did not hesitate in showing the Chelsea player a second yellow card.

“The second half we were coming on top. Then when you get such a shocking officiating decision, there’s nothing you can do about it,” Hayes said.

“It’s hard when you’ve got 11; when you’ve got 10, it’s virtually impossible.”

Chelsea battled gamely to give its outgoing manager the chance to depart on a high in next month’s final in Bilbao, but they sorely missed the cutting edge of injured Australian superstar striker Sam Kerr.

Despite Barca being camped in its own half, time ran out on the home side who bowed out in the last four for the second season running.

The first 20 minutes passed almost entirely without incident before Hannah Hampton was finally forced into a save, dropping low to gather Caroline Graham Hansen’s tame right-foot volley from the edge of the box.

The game needed a moment of skill and fortune to crack it open, and on 25 minutes it got one.

The ball was played into the feet of Bonmati, who with a clever stepover outfoxed Niamh Charles before hitting a shot that deflected against the outstretched leg of Buchanan and beyond Hampton’s reach to level the aggregate score.

Chelsea almost hit back immediately. Catarina Macario slipped a pass through the left channel to Lauren James, who cut the ball back from the byline for the unmarked Melanie Leupolz.

Six yards out and with the goal at her mercy, the German midfielder sent a left-foot effort crashing against the crossbar.

Sjoeke Nusken’s shot on the slide spun agonisingly against the outside of the post as Chelsea came close to going ahead, but after Buchanan’s dismissal came the penalty award – Jess Carter putting an arm in the back of Bonmati, who tumbled over Ashley Lawrence.

VAR checked and saw nothing wrong with the decision, and up stepped Rolfo to send Hampton the wrong way and ensure Hayes leaves without the European trophy she had coveted for so long.


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