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Bonmati shines as Barcelona ousts Chelsea in Women’s Champions League semis

Barcelona Aitana Bonmati - Getty Images

LONDON (AP-CP) — Kadeisha Buchanan was sent off and fellow Canadian Ashley Lawrence conceded a penalty as Chelsea's Women's Champions League run ended in the semifinal, dispatched 2-1 on aggregate by Barcelona after losing Saturday's second leg 2-0.

Aitana Bonmati scored and won the penalty to lead Barca past the Londoners.

Buchanan looked incredulous when Romanian referee Juliana Demetrescu showed her a red card in the 59th minute after issuing a second caution for the Canadian's tackle on Patri Guijarro. The 28-year-old from Brampton, Ont., caught Guijarro's foot after the ball squirted away in the tackle.

“Even Barcelona players said to us they knew the referee was helpful for them. I didn't think it was a foul, let alone a yellow card,” Chelsea coach Emma Hayes said, complaining about Demestrescu. “I was surprised when I saw her selected. She's famous for easy cards, and I think that is probably the worst decision in UEFA Women’s Champions League history. (…) We were robbed.”

Buchanan, who has won 147 caps for Canada, had been booked in the 54th minute for chopping down Salma Paralluelo.

Bonmati went down minutes later when sandwiched between Lawrence and Jessica Carter as she sliced into the Chelsea penalty box. Bonmati's leg got clipped by Lawrence, who has 132 Canada caps, and the Spanish star hit the turf.

Barcelona winger Fridolina Rolfo converted the penalty in the 75th to send Barcelona to the final.

Barcelona became the first team since Frankfurt and Potsdam in 2005 to advance after losing the semifinal first leg at home. Chelsea won 1-0 in Spain a week ago.

“We learned from our mistakes and we had to prepare better than the last week for this game,” Bonmati told broadcaster DAZN. “I can be skilful or I can have talent, but I think the best part of me is my mental toughness and my ambition.”

Defending champion Barcelona has reached the final for the fifth time in the last six seasons, missing out only in 2020.

The Spanish club will face a French club in the final May 25. Paris Saint-Germain hosts Lyon in the second leg of the other semifinal Sunday. Lyon won the first leg 3-2.

Chelsea was let down by its finishing and poor discipline.

In the rain, Stamford Bridge was sold out for the first time for a women’s game. In front of a noisy crowd of 39,398 spectators, Chelsea looked to shut out Barcelona with a compact shape and an aggressive press like in the first leg.

Barcelona initially struggled but grew into the game as winger Caroline Graham Hansen tested Chelsea goalkeeper Hannah Hampton with a low shot in the 22nd minute.

Bonmati, the world's best player, levelled the tie in the 25th by rounding Niamh Charles to fire in a low strike that took a deflection off Buchanan.

Striker Catarina Macario led Chelsea’s response with a dipping half-volley that goalkeeper Catalina Coll palmed away in the 36th.

The hosts had a golden chance to equalize before halftime. Chelsea midfielder Sjoeke Nusken intercepted an underhit back pass from Irene Paredes and squared the ball back for Lauren James, who couldn’t make contact.

Chelsea was wasteful again in the 57th when James picked out Nusken, whose sliding effort hit the post.


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