Soccer-Imperious Barca make up for 2019 failure by claiming first Champions League crown


Soccer Football - Women's Champions League Final - Chelsea v FC Barcelona - Gamla Ullevi, Gothenburg, Sweden - May 16, 2021 Barcelona players celebrate winning the Women's Champions League Final Bjorn Larsson Rosvall/TT News Agency via REUTERS

GOTHENBURG, Sweden (Reuters) - Barcelona's stunning display to defeat Chelsea 4-0 in the UEFA Women's Champions League final on Sunday was forged in a crushing disappointment of their own in the 2019 showpiece that ensured that they would not make the same mistake again.

Barcelona conceded four goals in the opening half-hour as they were thrashed 4-1 by Olympique Lyonnais in the 2019 decider.

However, this time they took control early on to put on a performance steeped in the club's tradition of high-energy pressing, short passing and a large amount of individual flair.

Lieke Martens laid down an early marker, dancing past Chelsea's defenders in the first minute before thumping a shot off the crossbar that eventually led to an own goal, and there was no looking back.

That effort prompted an unrelenting string of attacks from the Catalan side that resulted in them being four goals up by the break to leave the Londoners reeling.

Chelsea seemed a step slow in everything they did, punished for virtually every mistake and unable to find the fluid passing and incisive movement that have propelled them to two consecutive Women's Super League titles in England.

The introduction of Guro Reiten at halftime for Leupolz meant Chelsea switched to longer balls, but for the most part Barca dealt with them comfortably, with only a handful of weak headers getting on target.

In possession Barca were imperious, always able to find a pass to get them out of trouble, with French midfielder Kheira Hamraoui brilliantly filling the role of lynchpin in midfield.

Ten minutes from the end, Barcelona officials began distributing scarves and the club's famous home shirt for the inevitable victory celebrations and photos.

The evening ended with reserve goalkeeper Catalina Coll leading a number of reserves in cutting down the net into which they scored their four first-half goals, claiming a valuable souvenir on a historic night for the club as memories of 2019 were banished.

(Reporting by Philip O'Connor; Editing by Christian Radnedge)

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