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Chelsea women to face Barcelona women in Women's Champions League final

 


Pernille Harder scored a unique late goal and Fran Kirby scored twice as Chelsea overturned a 2-1 first-leg deficit with a 4-1 victory over Bayern Munich on Sunday to set up a European Women's Champions League final against Barcelona.

England international Kirby gave Chelsea the lead on 11 minutes at Kingsmeadow, finishing off a move she began inside her own half after combining smartly with Australia forward Sam Kerr.

Sarah Zadrazil equalised with a thunderous, dipping shot from distance that clipped the underside of the bar on its way in as Bayern regained the upper hand in the tie.

Ji So-yun gave Chelsea a 2-1 advantage just before half-time, steering low into the corner past an unsighted Laura Benkarth after smacking her initial free-kick against the wall.

Danish forward Harder, who joined Chelsea at the start of the season for a reported world record transfer fee, grabbed the decisive goal on 84 minutes as she glanced in a header from Jessica Carter's free-kick.

Harder was a Champions League runner-up twice in the past three seasons with Wolfsburg.

Kirby made sure of Chelsea's place in the May 16 final in Gothenburg as she rolled into an empty net with the final kick of the game to complete a 5-3 win on aggregate.

"It means everything: we want to play finals. We believed from the first minute and put in a great performance," said Harder.

"When (my goal) went in, it was the best feeling ever. We were almost in the final and then, when Fran put the last one in, it was just a relief."

The Blues become just the second English club to reach the biggest match in European women's club football after Arsenal, who won the competition in 2007.

"We've been through a lot together. I've been here nine years - it's not just happened, it's been a long time coming. I'm going to have a nice singsong and cry all the way home because I'm so happy," Chelsea coach Emma Hayes told BT Sport.

"I think it's important for English football that we made it. English football is one of the best in the world and now we've got to face another top team in Barcelona."

It will be the first Champions League final without a French team since 2014 after Paris Saint-Germain were knocked out by Barcelona 3-2 on aggregate.

Lieke Martens scored twice as Barcelona advanced to a second final in three years with a 2-1 victory over PSG in the second leg of their semi-final in Spain.

After a 1-1 draw in France last weekend, Dutch winger Martens put Barcelona in front on eight minutes at the Johan Cruyff Stadium with a superb curling strike.

She then ghosted in at the far post to double Barcelona's advantage on the half-hour, tapping in a cross from Caroline Graham Hansen.

PSG, who ended Lyon's five-year reign in the quarter-finals, soon pulled a goal back when Marie-Antoinette Katoto prodded in after a goalmouth scramble from a corner.

Jenni Hermoso, the competition's top scorer this season, and Marta Torrejon both hit the woodwork for 2019 runners-up Barcelona in the second half as the Spaniards held on to return to the final.

"Two years ago, in Budapest, we went to really live the experience of our first Champions League final, but this time we are going to Gothenburg to win," said Barcelona coach Lluis Cortes.

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