Barcelona 2-1 Paris: Martens double clinches final berth for Barça
domenica 2 maggio 2021
Barcelona are through to their second final after Lieke Martens struck twice in a 2-1 win against Paris.
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Two first-half goals from Lieke Martens proved the difference as Barcelona saw off Paris Saint-Germain 2-1 at home and 3-2 on aggregate to reach their second UEFA Women's Champions League final.
Match in brief
Barcelona needed less than eight minutes to take the lead, and their opener was a goal of exquisite quality.
First, Leila Ouahabi strode forward and picked out Lieke Martens, but the Barça forward still had plenty to do, gliding into the area from the left and curling a superb effort beyond Christiane Endler and high into the far corner.
The Dutch striker had a simpler task for their second on 31 minutes, lashing the ball into the net from close range after excellent work by Caroline Graham Hansen down the right.
The Paris players immediately huddled together on the pitch to rally – and their response was swift, Marie-Antoinette Katoto steering in following a goal-mouth scramble from a corner.
The visitors began the second half in determined mood as well, though it took until close to the hour mark for Barcelona goalkeeper Sandra Paños to be truly tested as she batted away a Ramona Bachmann shot.
Barça's threat had not been extinguished, however, with Jennifer Hermoso striking a post and Marta Torrejón looping a header onto the crossbar. Ultimately, they had already done enough to reach their second final and will be hoping for a better outcome than their loss to Lyon in the 2019 showpiece.
Key player: Lieke Martens
Who else but Barça's two-goal hero? Martens was in the right place at the right time when it mattered, producing a wonderful finish for the first and showing great anticipation to get in position for the second. The hosts had outstanding performers across the pitch – notably Hermoso and Graham Hansen – but Martens was a level above.
Lluís Cortés, Barcelona coach: "Two years ago, in Budapest, we went to really live the experience of our first Champions League final, but this time we are going to Gothenburg to win."
Aitana Bonmati, Barcelona midfielder: "We deserve this victory and I'm proud of my team. We are all convinced that this will be our year and we'll go to Sweden fully focused on winning."
Olivier Echouafni, Paris coach: "With one goal more we would have qualified for the final, and unfortunately we couldn't get it. Barcelona created chances, but so did we. At this level, it's essential to be clinical. In the first half, Barcelona created two chances and scored two goals. That's what we need to correct."
Christiane Endler, Paris goalkeeper: "We had a great run in this competition and weren't lacking much. It was a very tough game but also very even. In the end, Barcelona went through, but I think we gave a good account of ourselves throughout the competition."
• Barcelona's win was their first against Paris in six UEFA Women's Champions League matches – and the first time they have scored twice against the French side.
• Martens has five goals in this season's competition, one behind team-mate Jenni Hermoso and final opponent Fran Kirby.
• Barcelona have failed to score in just one of their last 23 UEFA Women's Champions League matches.
• Before this game, Paris had conceded just one goal in their last ten away games in all competitions, not counting their forfeited match against Sparta Praha in the round of 16 (0-3).
Barcelona: Paños; Torrejón, Pereira (Hamraoui 76), María León, Ouahabi; Bonmati (Oshoala 79), Guijarro, Putellas; Graham Hansen, Hermoso, Martens (Caldentey 72)
Paris: Endler; Lawrence, Paredes, Dudek, Morroni (Bruun 87); Geyoro, Formiga (Nadim 73), Däbritz; Bachmann (Huitema 73), Katoto, Baltimore
The final is at Gamla Ullevi, Gothenburg, on 16 May against Chelsea.