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Barcelona 3-1 Brann (agg: 5-2): Reigning champions book semi-final place

Barcelona set up a last-four meeting with Chelsea at the expense of a brave Brann showing in the second leg of this quarter-final tie.

Highlights: Barcelona 3-1 Brann

Holders Barcelona triumphed despite another battling Brann performance to secure a sixth successive semi-final appearance in the competition.

Key moments

13': Mikalsen turns Graham Hansen effort wide
17': Brann No1 saves Paredes header
24': Aitana Bonmatí hits sumptuous curling effort
56': Rolfö pokes home from close range
70': Svendheim finishes fine Brann move
88': Patri Guijarro turns in Bonmatí pass

Match in brief: Barcelona beat brave Brann

Brann, who ran the holders close in the first leg eight days ago, were faced with the mammoth task of having to inflict the first home defeat upon Barcelona in this competition since the 2017/18 campaign if they were to become Norway's first semi-final representatives in 17 years.

As with the match in Bergen, the Blaugrana started pressuring their opponents early and again found goalkeeper Aurora Mikalsen in inspired form.

The Norwegian international was at full stretch to turn Caroline Graham Hansen's low strike around the post, with the visiting goalkeeper pulling off a superb one-handed stop to push Irene Paredes' powerful header behind just minutes later.

In a rare foray forward for the Toppserien outfit, 18-year-old Signe Gaupset shrugged off the challenge of Mariona Caldentey to create space to shoot but was unable to beat Barça custodian Catalina Coll at her near post.

It was a piece of magic that finally got the better of the busy Brann goalkeeper midway through the first half. Home skipper Alexia Putellas chested a pass into the path of Esmee Brugts, whose neat lay-off picked out Aitana Bonmatí just outside the box. The midfielder appeared to lose momentum temporarily before regaining full control of the ball and bending a left-footed strike into the far corner of the net.

Aitana Bonmatí's curling effort is just out of Mikalsen's reach
Aitana Bonmatí's curling effort is just out of Mikalsen's reachAFP via Getty Images

Mariona Caldentey almost added a second before half-time, but her low strike rolled agonisingly wide of the upright after a neat move by the hosts.

Graham Hansen, a scorer in the victory in Bergen on 20 March, was the instigator of the goal that ultimately swung the tie away from her fellow countrywomen 11 minutes after the break.

The Oslo-born attacker burst into the Brann penalty area from the right wing, with her cutback rebounding off two visiting defenders. Mikalsen was unable to fully gather the ball, affording Fridolina Rolfö a simple tap-in.

However, the Norwegian side did not give up and cut the deficit with a well-worked goal, Tomine Svendheim's clever finish polishing off a fine move by Martin Peter Ho's team.

The two-time Norwegian champions almost crafted what would have been a deserved equaliser on the night, but Anna Nerland Aahjem's powerful strike flashed across the face of goal after a strong run from the Brann replacement.

But it was the reigning champions who crafted the fourth goal of the evening, substitute Patri Guijarro prodding in from Aitana Bonmatí's pass after more good work on the right wing by Graham Hansen.

As it happened: Barcelona 3-1 Brann (agg: 5-2)

Visa Player of the Match: Caroline Graham Hansen (Barcelona)

Graham Hansen was the Player of the Match in both legs
Graham Hansen was the Player of the Match in both legs

"Her positioning in wide areas was very good. Her decision-making in and around the area was excellent, and integral to creating goalscoring opportunities. Her all-round game was on show this evening as she showcased her defensive abilities, pressing the Brann goalkeeper and also dropping back to deal with the visitors' wing-back pushing up high."
UEFA Technical Observer panel

Graham Hunter, match reporter

Barcelona's semi final opponent, Chelsea, will have watched this second leg with increasing interest. The European champions and their London rivals know each other very well, but what Emma Hayes and her players will have noted in capital letters is that while the Blaugrana dominated and played really well, they came nowhere near capitalising on the cornucopia of chances created. Credit to the superb Mikalsen in the visiting goal. Coach Jonatan Giráldez's team are through, but with work to do.


Graham Hansen: 'We have to up it a notch for the semis'

Caroline Graham Hansen, Player of the Match: "Although we are happy to be in the semi-final, there's a level of frustration that we didn't score many more goals. Quarter-finals are never easy and I think that it's useful to have something to work on – to let people know that we have to up it a notch for the semis."

Alexia Putellas, Barcelona captain: "I liked Brann's ideas and their attitude. Everything that they did made sense, had purpose and both legs of this tie have been complicated for our team."

Aitana Bonmatí, Barcelona goalscorer: "We created lots of chances but the first thing I want to do is congratulate Brann on how they played. They were so well organised, they wanted to contest possession, to have the ball and even when it didn't work, they stuck to their principles. Not all teams do that against Barça."

Jonatan Giráldez, Barcelona coach: "Tonight was a good example of what my team are. We controlled the game, we were 2-0 up and perhaps in that situation another club would have tried to adopt a different kind of possession – but we wanted to go forward."

Tomine Svendheim, Brann goalscorer: "I think we were really loyal to our plan and we want to play, no matter who the opposition is. We want the ball as much as possible. The girls worked really hard and it was a great performance."

Martin Peter Ho, Brann coach: "My players have broken barriers down, I couldn't have asked more of them. They've reached levels that perhaps they didn't know they had. We've stepped up against the best in the world and we've given them a game – pushed them all the way. Players and fans have let Norwegian football come away from here with heads held high."

Key stats

  • Barcelona have now won 22 of their last 23 UEFA Women's Champions League home matches, drawing the other.
  • The Blaugrana have scored in 38 of their last 39 matches in this competition.
  • Jonatan Giráldez's side have extended their best ever unbeaten run in the Women's Champions League to 15 matches.
  • Barça have reached the last four of this tournament for a sixth successive campaign, equalling Lyon's record of consecutive semi-final appearances (set between 2007/08 and 2012/13).


Barcelona: Catalina Coll; Bronze, Irene Paredes (Marta Torrejón 71), Syrstad Engen (Martina 89), Rolfö; Aitana Bonmatí, Walsh, Alexia Putellas (Patri Guijarro 71); Graham Hansen, Brugts (Salma Paralluelo 71), Mariona Caldentey (Bruna Vilamala 84)

Brann: Mikalsen; Stenevik (Ritter 72), Østenstad, Tynnilä (Renmark 72); Kvamme, Kielland (Aahjem 64), Haugland, Lund (Svendheim 56); Gaupset, Engesvik (Eikeland 46); Crummer

What's next?

Barcelona will face Chelsea in the semi-finals on 20/21 and 27/28 April. Barcelona will be at home in the first leg.