Barcelona beat Emma Hayes' Chelsea to reach UWCL final


Hayes: Buchanan red card worst decision in UWCL history

Chelsea boss Emma Hayes has delivered a damming assessment of the refereeing during Chelsea's 2-0 loss to Barcelona in the UWCL semifinals.

Barcelona booked their spot in May's Women's Champions League final as they overcame a 1-0 deficit from the first leg to beat 10-woman Chelsea 2-0 in front of a sold-out Stamford Bridge on Saturday.

Chelsea's defeat ensures that the Champions League will remain the one trophy that eludes Emma Hayes as she leaves the club after 14 years in charge to coach the United States women's national team at the end of the season.

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Under Hayes, Chelsea have reached the final only once, in 2021, when they were thrashed 4-0 -- again by Barça.

The Catalan side, who have won the Champions League twice in the last three years, went ahead in the 26th minute when Ballon d'Or winner Aitana Bonmatí found space on the edge of the box and sidestepped Niamh Charles. Her shot took a deflection off Kadeisha Buchanan into the net.

The goal, after sustained pressure at high tempo from the visitors, cancelled out Erin Cuthbert's strike a week ago in Barcelona.

"A little bit lucky but sometimes you have to shoot in the box and you never know," Bonmatí told DAZN.

Barcelona will play either Paris Saint-Germain or Lyon in the Champions League final in May.
Chloe Knott - Danehouse/Getty Images

Bonmatí's goal meant she became the joint all-time top scorer in the Women's Champions League for Barça, tied with Alexia Putellas on 21 goals. It was her fifth in 10 European games.

Chelsea, who had sold out Stamford Bridge for the first time for a women's game, were left to rue a number of missed opportunities as Lauren James failed to convert from Sjoeke Nüsken's pass across goal before the Germany midfielder hit the post in the second half with an effort of her own.

The hosts were reduced to 10 women moments before the hour mark when Buchanan was controversially shown a second yellow card for tackle on Patri Guijarro when it looked as if she may have won the ball fairly.

VAR was in operation at Stamford Bridge but was only able to intervene with direct red card offences.

It didn't take Barça long to make their player advantage count as Bonmatí went over in the box after a coming together with Jess Carter and Ashley Lawrence.

Fridolina Rolfö made no mistake with her penalty as she sent Hannah Hampton the wrong way from the spot to secure Barça's safe passage to the final in Bilbao, where they will face either Lyon or Paris Saint-Germain who play their semifinal on Sunday.

"It's amazing, another final," Bonmati said as her teammates danced and sang in the rain in front of the travelling fans. "It wasn't easy because we had a tough team in front of us. We had to sweat our T-shirts to achieve it. I'm proud of my team and let's go in for another final."