Sports 

Tokyo 2020 hopefuls shine on road to Gothenburg

UEFA Women’s Champions League

© imago images
  • Barcelona and Chelsea reach UEFA Women’s Champions League final
  • Barça edged Paris 3-2 on aggregate, Chelsea beat Bayern 5-3
  • Final on 16 May in Gothenburg at 21:00 CET

Several players who are expected to shine at the Women’s Olympic Football Tournament Tokyo 2020 played key roles in helping their clubs advance to the UEFA Women’s Champions League final, where both Barcelona and Chelsea will be desperate to lift the continental club trophy for the first time.

Barcelona opened the day with a 2-1 victory over Paris Saint-Germain thanks to Dutch star Lieke Martens’ first-half brace. Marie-Antoinette Katoto replied almost immediately after Martens’ second, however Barça proved to be too strong in the end and were deserved winners, booking a place in the final for the second time in their history. The Spanish giants lost 4-1 to Olympique Lyonnais in their first final appearance in 2019.

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Martens has scored five goals in her last five matches for Barcelona in all competitions.

Fantastic Fran

One player who will be looking to make an impression at the Olympic Games for the first time will be Fran Kirby. Scoring two goals in the semi-finals to lead her club to their first-ever Champions League final will certainly help her as she continues to prepare for the global tournament.

Kirby opened the scoring after just 11 minutes after combing with another Tokyo 2020-bound star in Australia’s Sam Kerr. A Sarah Zadrazil stunner put the result in serious doubt for Emma Hayes’ side, however a long-distance strike from Ji Soyun got the Blues back on track.

Denmark’s Pernille Harder headed in the decisive goal in the 84th minute before Kirby put the cherry on top, finishing off a counter attack in stoppage time to set up a final at Gamla Ullevi, Gothenburg, on 16 May against Barcelona.

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Chelsea’s victory was their first in their six Champions League semi-final matches, as the Blues previously lost four and drew one.

The goals

What they said

“To every coach at home, I’m going to say: this thousands of hours of travelling, thousands of setbacks, working with teams and different moments. I’m so proud of myself. I’ve got to this level through my hard work, my dedication, and I’m fortunate to be working for a football club that I adore. I work for a set of players who were always in control – I never felt I was, but they did everything possible.

“We knew they were going to change something; we had to change something too. We dealt with their threats and they gave us the space to counter, which is where we got the first goal from. We conceded far too many set pieces but we adjusted that and put bodies on the line. I played them a video, before the game, of a UFC star talking to herself, saying ‘I am the best, I am the best.’ The cameras asked her about it afterwards and she said, ‘but I am the best.’ Someone described us as ‘mentality monsters’, and we are the best. We’re in this position because we deserve it.”
Chelsea coach Emma Hayes, speaking to BT Sport

“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.”
Barcelona coach Lluis Cortes

Sourced from FIFA

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