Barcelona 0-1 Chelsea: Erin Cuthbert scores winner as Chelsea stun Barcelona

Erin Cuthbert celebrates for Chelsea
Erin Cuthbert captained Chelsea and scored in their impressive victory in Barcelona

Chelsea produced a stunning performance at Estadi Olimpic Lluis Companys to beat Barcelona in the first leg of their Women’s Champions League semi-final.

It was the first time since February 2019 that Barcelona had been beaten in a competitive fixture at home and it shows the immense progress Chelsea have made in European competition under manager Emma Hayes.

Scotland international Erin Cuthbert scored the winner, firing past goalkeeper Catalina Coll in the first half to finish off a clever team move after Sjoeke Nusken had teed her up inside the box.

There was a huge chance for Barcelona to equalise in the final seconds as former two-time Ballon d’Or winner Alexia Putellas sliced wide from a few yards out and fell to her knees in disbelief.

It capped off a fascinating tactical battle as Chelsea came through an intense period of pressure from Barcelona at the start, before eventually finding space to threaten the hosts.

Hayes set her side up to defend with a back five and it worked a treat as Barca did not record a shot on target until stoppage-time.

The hosts thought they had found a breakthrough in the second half when they were awarded a penalty for handball by Kadeisha Buchanan but it was overturned following a video assistant referee [VAR] check as Salma Paralluelo was offside in the build-up.

Chelsea’s good fortune was needed against the defending champions but this was a huge performance from Hayes’ side and will go down as one of their most impressive of her nine-year tenure.

They must try to complete the job in the second leg at Stamford Bridge on Saturday, 27 April (17:30 BST kick-off) against a Barcelona side who have reached the final in four of the past five seasons.

Chelsea upset European favourites in historic win

Hayes said on Friday she was “not thinking about fairytales” in her final season in charge before taking over the US women’s national team – but this felt close to one.

The Women’s Champions League trophy has so far eluded Hayes and her squad, with Barcelona thrashing them 4-0 in the 2021 final and knocking them out in the semi-finals last season.

Barcelona, widely regarded the best team in Europe currently, were favourites on their home turf and excitement rippled through the city on Saturday morning.

With Ballon d’Or winner Aitana Bonmati among the many stars on show, the majority of the 36,428 fans in attendance came draped in red and blue, chanting “Barca, Barca, Barca” and expecting their side to deliver.

Barcelona started off as planned, dominating possession, pinning Chelsea in their own half and building pressure through Bonmati, Caroline Graham Hansen and Paralluelo.

But Chelsea’s wing-backs, once they had settled down and worked out Barcelona’s shape, started to find space and cause problems at the other end.

Johanna Rytting Kaneryd found joy down the right, while Ashley Lawrence was a standout performer on the left, feeding striker Mayra Ramirez and using midfielder Melanie Leupolz to switch the play.

Both sides had created a few half-chances but Chelsea capitalised on their pressure – Nusken spinning in the box and teeing up Cuthbert, whose powerful strike flew into the net.

Barcelona’s Paralluelo and Chelsea’s Ramirez both struck wide from big opportunities late on, after VAR had overturned the penalty decision, but Hayes’ side did enough to cling on for a historic victory in Spain when Putellas’ effort sailed past the post.

It means there could yet be a fairytale ending for Hayes if they can hold on in London next week and book their place in the final for just the second time in the club’s history.


Barcelona Femenino

Formation 4-3-3

  • 13Coll
  • 22BatlleSubstituted forBronzeat 63′minutes
  • 2ParedesBooked at 83mins
  • 23EngenSubstituted forPutellasat 63′minutes
  • 16Rolfö
  • 14Bonmatí
  • 21Walsh
  • 12Guijarro GutiérrezBooked at 79mins
  • 10Graham Hansen
  • 7Paralluelo
  • 9Caldentey OliverSubstituted forLópez Serrano Félixat 73′minutes


  • 1Paños
  • 5Fernández
  • 6Pina
  • 8Torrejón
  • 11Putellas
  • 15Bronze
  • 19Vilamala
  • 24Brugts
  • 26Dragoni
  • 30López Serrano Félix
  • 32Arias
  • 34Fernández

Chelsea Women

Formation 3-5-2

  • 24Hampton
  • 7Carter
  • 26Buchanan
  • 21Charles
  • 19Rytting Kaneryd
  • 22Cuthbert
  • 8Leupolz
  • 6Nüsken
  • 12Lawrence
  • 10JamesSubstituted forMacárioat 73′minutes
  • 35RamírezSubstituted forReitenat 90+2′minutes


  • 1Musovic
  • 4Bright
  • 5Ingle
  • 9Macário
  • 11Reiten
  • 14Kirby
  • 15Périsset
  • 33Beever-Jones
  • 40Cox

Stéphanie Frappart

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