Chelsea are set to welcome Barcelona to Stamford Bridge on Saturday, in the first leg of their highly-anticipated UEFA Women’s Champions League semifinal. Over 25,000 fans are expected to be in attendance as Emma Hayes’ side look to produce another magical moment following their dramatic quarterfinal second leg under the lights.
The Blues won the first leg of their quarterfinal tie at Lyon’s Groupama Stadium, as Guro Reiten bagged the only goal of the game in the 28th minute to ensure Chelsea had the upper hand as they returned to the capital city. However, Vanessa Gilles’ 77th minute strike at Stamford Bridge saw the game head to extra time – in which Sara Däbritz netted Lyon’s second goal with ten minutes left to play.
A dramatic end to the game saw Chelsea awarded a penalty – and a chance to take the game to a shootout – in the 122nd minute, though Maren Mjelde had to wait six minutes before she was finally allowed to shoot from the spot. The Norwegian made no mistake, and Chelsea ultimately emerged victorious after Lindsey Horan missed her effort.
Barcelona’s quarterfinal was a little more one-sided, as the Blaugrana picked up a one-goal win in Italy, before thrashing AS Roma 5-1 at the Camp Nou to secure progression to the final four. Chelsea have met Barcelona in the UWCL once before – as the Catalan side emerged 4-0 winners in the 2020/21 final in Sweden.
Chelsea are set to be without Millie Bright once again due to the defender’s knee injury, with Kadeisha Buchanan also absent from Emma Hayes’ back line after picking up an injury while on international duty with Canada. Maren Mjelde is expected to deputise at centre-back alongside Magdalena Eriksson.
Fran Kirby’s long-term injury means that she’ll also be unavailable, as Emma Hayes’ available squad seems to shrink week after week. Melanie Leupolz has featured for the Blues since being forced off at Stamford Bridge in that dramatic game against Lyon, and we can expect her to start in central midfield once again.
For Barcelona, Claudia Pina and Asisat Oshoala have both recovered in time, so they’re included in the travelling squad. Maria Pérez and Vicky López – both reserve team players – have also travelled to the English capital. Alexia Putellas isn’t fit enough to be considered for the first leg, though she has made the trip with the rest of the team to continue her recovery.
Chelsea: Berger; Carter, Eriksson, Mjelde, Périsset; Cuthbert, Leupolz; Reiten, Cankovic, James; Kerr
Barcelona: Paños; Rolfö, Mapi León, Paredes, Bronze; Patri, Walsh, Aitana; Paralluelo, Geyse, Graham
Where can I watch?
Kickoff at Stamford Bridge is 12:30pm UK time on Saturday, 22 April 2023. The game will be shown live on DAZN – and will be free to watch on their YouTube channel. Coverage will be available in both English and Spanish, starting at 12:20pm.
Alternatively, you can still buy tickets for this fixture though Chelsea’s official website. Tickets are available in the Upper West Stand – an adult ticket costs £30, while those under 20 (or over 65) can enter for just £15.