Barcelona ends their historic season to a painful loss against Wolfsburg 1-0 in the Champions League semi-final in Anoeta Stadium. The Blaugranas couldn’t find their edge despite displaying a decent performance.
In this editorial review, our top editors will review the team’s performance against Wolfsburg.
A heartbreaking end to Barcelona’s sensational season
The semi-final was one of the most if not the most anticipated football match of women’s football in 19/20. Two of the strongest attacking teams met, and only one goal was the difference between them. Barcelona dominated possession, dominance and played as a team, but their ruin was the final third. They simply could not put the goal in the net, nerves and the fact that this was their second competitive match in six months since the pandemic broke, unlike Wolfsburg, who finished their season and domestic cup. Besides the missed chances another scene-stealer was the referee, who didn’t call a handball early on in the match and gave harsh decisions for Barca throughout the game. The level of officiating and VAR will come out as a hot topic of discussion after this duel. Cortes’ substitutes and game management are also up for debate. However, with all things considered a few negatives but many positives for Barcelona, the only way is up.
Tooba’s Player of the Match: It is difficult to pick a player of a match when the team gives a united performance, with ups and downs for nearly everyone at an individual level. But, if I had to pick, I would go with Mapi Leon who silenced the roaring attackers of Wolfsburg. Other standouts were Kheira and Alexia, picking off from where they left vs Atletico. Doing just enough.
Unlucky but there’s lots of hope for the future
An unfair loss for a Barça team that dominated the match. Wolfsburg had few opportunities but took advantage of Barcelona’s errors and was clinical in front of goal, something that Barça lacked. For one of the very few times this season, the Blaugrana players just could not score and had they done so, they could’ve won by two or three goals. They created countless chances, but in the semi-finals of the Champions League, you have to be able to finish.
Another aspect that hurt the cules was Lluís Cortés’ late substitutions. Lieke Martens came on in the 85th minute; it’s ridiculous to put a player with her impact on with such little time left. Even so, it was an exciting match, and Barcelona Femeni proved themselves as one of the top teams in Europe. They almost made it to their second consecutive Champions League final, something that is extremely hard to do. Playing like they did today and fixing some key issues, this team can win it all next season.
Natalie’s Player of the Match: Andrea Pereira. An underrated player and rock-solid in the defence, she’s been consistent all season and showed it again today. She was quick to react and even made it seem like Pernille Harder wasn’t even on the pitch today.
A Superior Barça got eliminated
The UEFA Women’s Champions League finals dream of Barcelona Femeni ended with a 1-0 defeat to Wolfsburg, with poor officiating and missed chances to be blamed.
Barcelona’s first chance came up in the 8th minute when Oshoala’s shot found the side of the net. In the 13th minute, a corner ended up in the hands of Wolfsburg’s Kathrin Hendrich. No VAR in the competition and the referee missing the action cost Barcelona a penalty.
Oshoala and Caroline Hansen, at the end of the first half, had opportunities to put Barcelona ahead, but luck didn’t favour us. Sandra Paños has had to make some good saves in the first half from Joelle Wedemeyerand and Huth who tried to get past her but to no avail. And, at the start of the second half, she had to intervene to avoid an own goal attempt from Mapi León.
Sandra Panos was helpless in the goal conceded as Rolfö took advantage, scoring the lone goal of the match before a series of rebounds inside the box. Oshoala, Mariona, Jennifer Hermoso and Aitana missed a couple of chances, and the misfortunes cost Barcelona Femeni the chance to sneak into the Champions League final. A final hope as a penalty in the stoppage time was given as a foul in favour of Wolfsburg by the referee, Katalin Kulcsar.
Arun’s Player of the Match: Fridolina Rolfö. She had a fine performance throughout the match, winning most of the ground duels and scoring the only goal of the match. Referee, Katalin Kulcsar who broke hearts in Spain for the second time does deserve some attention here.
Visca el Barça mal que perdi!
Today, Barça presented its candidacy to rule the European competitions, yet for the first time this season, the team lost a game. They played a great game against Wolfsburg, but the goal – often Barça’s best friend – was not on their side. Neither was the referee, who missed two penalties.
In the first half, a very clear hand from Hendrich inside the box could have changed the script of the whole game. A second penalty in the last minutes of the game (that was not a foul on Abt but rather a foul from Abt to Hansen) could have forced the extra-time. Still, Barça’s aim during the game makes it hard to believe they would have undoubtfully scored those penalty kicks. And that’s the key part. VAR was missing in Anoeta, but so was Barça’s aim. What was not missing is Barça’s DNA. They played amazing football and made us proud.
Paraphrasing Lluís Cortés at the end of the game “I would not trade any single Barça’s players for a Wolfsburg one”. Every single one of them deserved that final, but football isn’t fair. Yet. I am sure, someday soon, we will be lifting that trophy. So, today, more than ever “Visca el Barça mal que perdi!” [It means “Visca el Barça even if it loses”]
Laia’s Player of the match: Kheira Hamraoui. She did the dirty work in the midfield, and that was key to unleash our creative midfielders while holding the team together and tight.