Sublime Barcelona and Arsenal (with Pelova) to Champions League semifinals
FC Barcelona soccer players are through to the semifinals of the Champions League for the fifth time in a row. At home, they defeated AS Roma 5-1. In Rome, the Spanish team also won the first match, 1-0.
Arsenal is also through after a 2-1 victory over Bayern Munich, which had won the first game 1-0.
Barcelona played from the beginning with high intensity and threat. In the tenth minute, Jonatan Giraldez’s team opened the scoring, thanks to a tight shot into the right corner by Fridolina Rolfö. Goalkeeper Camelia Ceasar did not even get in the way. It was the Swedish attacker’s second goal in eight Champions League games.
In the 32nd minute, it was another hit. Mapi Leon lashed out from outside the penalty area and rammed the ball like a cannonball over all defenders and over goalkeeper Ceasar into the right corner, a world-class goal. Last year, the 27-year-old Spanish defender won the award for goal of the year, against Real Madrid in the Champions League.
Watch Mapi Leon’s best goal of 2022 here:
Roma is known for keeping possession of the ball, but they succeeded moderately this match. Defensive errors also played tricks on Alessandro Spugna’s team.
Just before halftime, it was again Rolfö, who was completely free at the far post and so Barcelona went into halftime 3-0. After a minute in the second half, the ball came perfectly to the feet of Asisat Oshoala, who made it 4-0. The Italians were wiped out on all sides.
Get rid of that zero
It seemed Roma was still suffering from summer time; each time they came just too late to stop the Spaniards. The more than 50,000 spectators got their money’s worth. Barely ten minutes later, the ball from a corner turned for the head of midfielder Patricia Guijarro, who had all the freedom to drop the ball – again – into that right corner.
And then the Italians decided that that humiliating zero had to come off the scoreboard. After a quick counter, Annamaria Serturini struck from the edge of the penalty area: 5-1.
That one goal took the sharp edge off the Spaniards, who then had to work a little harder, not cashing in any more chances.
Arsenal versus Bayern Munich
With the Dutch Victoria Pelova, who did start this time, Arsenal started the match against Bayern Munich. The Germans had won the first game 1-0, so there was considerable pressure on the English.
That pressure was increased early in the match when Arsenal captain Kim Little had to leave the field injured after a tackle by Sarah Zadrazil.
After this “little setback,” Frida Leonhardsen-Maanum scored the 1-0 for Arsenal in the 20th minute, with a hard curling shot from outside the penalty area. Five minutes later it was another hit for the Englishmen, who had complete control of the first half: Stina Blackstenius headed the ball into the net.
Blackstenius proved to be the secret weapon of Jonas Eidevall’s team. She switched gears at lightning speed, sprinted past defenders with the ball at foot and forced several chances. It was thanks to the good reflexes of Bayern goalkeeper Maria Grohs that her team did not fall behind before halftime.
After halftime, Bayern became slightly more dangerous. Klara Buhl managed to squeeze into Arsenal’s penalty area several times, but did not score.
It was straining for the English, who had just enough of two goals to go through. Fifteen minutes before the end, Pelova was substituted for Austrian defender Laura Wienroither. Pelova played well, worked hard, but Eidevall opted to strengthen the wall at the back.
That succeeded, Bayern failed to get back on track. Arsenal advanced to its first Champions League semifinal in a decade.