Barcelona 2-0 Eintracht Frankfurt: Niko Arnautis’ side denied of progression as the defending champions continue their dominant waltz

Tonight’s stage was set in Spain, as Barcelona welcomed Eintracht Frankfurt to Estadí Johan Cruyff in the penultimate fixture of the UEFA Women’s Champions League group stages. The visitors proved a test for the monopoly of talent that is the defending champions during the reverse fixture, though an impressive brace from Salma Paralluelo saw Barça return to full flight and claim the three points in Frankfurt.

On Thursday, the home side put forward a front three that had combined for a cumulative 40 goals across all competitions throughout the last calendar year, meaning Eintracht Frankfurt faced a mountain of a task ahead of them as they searched to elongate their European campaign.

BAR: Coll; Bronze, Paredes, Engen, Batlle, Walsh, Guijarro, Bonmatí, Graham Hansen, Caldentey, Paralluelo

FRA: Johannes, Wolter, Doorsoun-Khajeh, Kleinherne, Hanshaw, Dunst, Pawollek, Reuteler, Anyomi, Prašnikar, Freigang

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All was underway at Estadí Johan Cruyff, with the home side immediately dictating the fixture’s tempo from the outset. Despite looking scintillating in their forward press, the visitors worked ambitiously to neutralise any immediate attacking motions by the Culés.

It would be Eintracht Frankfurt who were graced with the opening chance of the evening, as Cata Coll mistimed her advancement outside of the 18 yard box, leaving her goal area unmarked behind her. Lara Prašnikar did her best to capitalise on the golden opportunity, though her strike from distanced arrived with minimal impact, as a back-tracking Irene Paredes was able to deny the visitors of the advantage.

It wouldn’t be long before the hosts would break the scoreless stalemate, as Patri Guijarro found herself with roamable space outside of the area. Her strike from range was hit deliciously, tidily finding the bottom right corner with expertise.

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Caroline Graham Hansen expertly dictated the territory in the wide area before gaining space inside the area with delicate footwork. Her searching cross failed to find a home jersey though, as the Frankfurt defensive line scrambled to clear the entry away from any sign of danger.

Sara Doorsoun-Khajeh showcased an exceptional display throughout the first interval, working tirelessly to nullify the threat of the pressing Barça frontline. Despite her best efforts, it seemed as if the visitors would need a remarkable act in order to turn the tides on the one-sided fixture as both sides went down the run for the half-time interval.

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All was back underway at Estadí Johan Cruyff, as the home side immediately looked to double their advantage as the second interval commenced. A brilliant ball from Ona Batlle managed to break the disorganised last line of Eintracht Frankfurt, though Lucy Bronze sent the cross bar rattling as her strike was narrowly denied by the woodwork.

Injury woes continued to pile devastatingly for Eintracht Frankfurt, as Tanja Pawollek required treatment on the grass from a challenge in the field’s central area. Niko Artnautis’ hand was forced into making a third change in the fixture’s 60th minute, as Estadí Johan Cryuff crossed their fingers for the Polish midfielder.

The scoreline remained stagnant as the clock ran down, the hosts finding significant difficulty with gathering composure inside of the area.

Delivering the final blow in the sails of Eintracht Frankfurt was Graham Hansen, as the Norwegian striker’s attempt from distance made no mistake in sending Johannes’s net rippling. With a mere fifteen minutes left to play, Eintracht Frankfurt watched their hopes of group stage progression slip away into anonymity.

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The final whistle blew at Estadí Johan Cruyff, as the defending champions comfortably draw their table tally to a staggering fifteen points – securing their spot in the quarter-finals of the competition. Rapture was a one-way street on this particular evening though, as Eintracht Frankfurt’s campaign in the UEFA Women’s Champions League would be confirmed to go no further than their final group stage match next week.