Barcelona 0-1 Chelsea: Player ratings as Blues hand Barca famous home defeat

  • Chelsea beat Barcelona 1-0 in the first leg of their Champions League semi-final
  • Erin Cuthbert's strike proved the difference in Catalonia
  • Barca's first home defeat since February 2019
Chelsea secured a great result in Catlonia
Chelsea secured a great result in Catlonia / PAU BARRENA/GettyImages

A magnificent defensive display earned Chelsea a vital 1-0 victory in the first leg of their Women's Champions League semi-final against reigning champions Barcelona on Saturday, handing the Spanish side their first home defeat since February 2019.

Barcelona may have dominated the majority of possession in an evenly matched first half, but it was Chelsea who found themselves ahead at the break after Erin Cuthbert stroked home from inside the penalty area in the 39th minute.

The hosts were left frustrated by the visitors in the second half and were unable to grab themselves an equaliser, with Chelsea securing an important one-goal advantage ahead of the second leg.

How the game unfolded

A repeat of the 2020/21 Champions League final and last season's semi-final in this competition, Chelsea were looking for revenge after some traumatic clashes with Barcelona. But it was the hosts who made the brighter start to proceedings, applying plenty of pressure to Hannah Hampton's goal in the early stages.

Despite their territorial dominance, it wasn't until the 16th minute that Barcelona forged their first promising opening. Aitana Bonmati drove to the edge of the Chelsea box from her own half before releasing Salma Paralluelo, but the 20-year-old's effort was blocked well by the sensational Jess Carter.

Chelsea's belief grew as the half wore on and they managed to sneak in front just six minutes before the break. Sjoeke Nusken's neat footwork and pass found Cuthbert inside the box, and the Scotland international worked some room before firing her strike beyond the outstretched glove of Catalina Coll.

Barcelona came out swinging in the second half and thought they had earned themselves a penalty just six minutes after the restart. Patricia Guijarro's shot struck the hand of Kadeisha Buchanan in the area but Paralluelo was deemed to be interfering with play in a marginally offside position. Referee Stephanie Frappart went to the monitor and decided to reverse her initial decision - much to Chelsea's relief.

The Blues then felt they should have had a penalty shortly afterwards, but VAR decided against intervening following Irene Paredes' challenge on Mayra Ramirez. Lauren James tried her luck from the edge of the area moments later, but her strike was a foot wide of Coll's goal.

Chelsea's watertight defence didn't give Barcelona a sniff despite the hosts' frantic attempts to find an equaliser, and Ramirez almost punished the Spanish side on the break 15 minutes from time. The forward showed incredible strength to engineer a shooting opportunity but blazed a promising opening high and wide.

Alexia Putellas came closest to producing a late leveller in the ninth minute of stoppage time, but the substitute inexplicably sent her effort wide from just six yards out. Her miss kept Chelsea's clean sheet intact, with the Women's Super League leaders taking a crucial lead back to London for the second leg.

Barcelona player ratings (4-3-3)

Bonmati was a class act in midfield / PAU BARRENA/GettyImages

GK: Catalina Coll - 6/10 - Helpless for Cuthbert's opener due to the slightest of deflections and otherwise had very little to do.

RB: Ona Batlle - 6/10 - Started brightly with her attacking runs but her influence waned as the game wore on. Hooked after the hour mark.

CB: Irene Paredes - 5/10 - One clumsy challenge on Ramirez in the box could have been punished on another day. Struggled to handle the tricky Colombian.

CB: Ingrid Engen - 7/10 - Some really important interventions in the first half and was slightly unlucky when it came to Chelsea's opener - the ball taking a slight deflection of her outstretched leg.

LB: Fridolina Rolfo - 6/10 - Offered Barca some consistent threat down the left flank but was often left isolated in attacking zones.

CM: Aitana Bonmati - 7/10 - The Ballon d'Or winner showed her class throughout with some excellent passing and mazy runs.

CM: Keira Walsh - 6/10 - Kept Barca ticking from the base of midfield, shuffling the ball out to her more advanced midfield teammates.

CM: Patricia Guijarro - 6/10 - A quiet afternoon from Guijarro, who was seldom involved in either half. Dropped into defence after some second-half alterations.

RW: Caroline Graham Hansen - 5/10 - Rarely got the better of Ashley Lawrence and the Norwegian will be disappointed to have not produced more in the final third.

ST: Salma Paralluelo - 5/10 - Squandered some promising half-chances in the opening stages and was a little unpolished in the Chelsea final third.

LW: Mariona Caldentey - 5/10 - Often found herself as part of an attacking two with Paralluelo and drifted across the front line. However, she couldn't prosper against a stoic Chelsea backline.


SUB: Lucy Bronze (63' for Engen) - 6/10

SUB: Alexia Putellas (63' for Batlle) - 5/10

SUB: Vicky Lopez (73' for Caldentey) - 6/10

Subs not used: Sandra Panos (GK), Jana Fernandez, Martina Fernandez, Esmee Brugts, Giulia Dragoni, Claudia Pina, Bruna Vilamala, Ariana Arias.


Jonatan Giraldez - 4/10 - A frustrating afternoon for his side, who had no answer for Chelsea's well-organised display. They will still believe they can turn things around, but it's a significant setback in the defence of their crown.

Chelsea player ratings (5-3-2)

Nusken set up Chelsea's opener / PAU BARRENA/GettyImages

GK: Hannah Hampton - 6/10 - Ceded possession regularly in the first half with her poor distribution, but was largely unworked across the 90 minutes.

RB: Johanna Rytting Kaneryd - 7/10 - A solid display from the Swede, who dealt well with Barca's attacking threat down Chelsea's right.

CB: Jess Carter - 9/10 - A ferocious defensive display from the England international, who almost single-handedly kept Barca out at times. A tremendous performance that proved pivotal for Emma Hayes' side.

CB: Kadeisha Buchanan - 7/10 - Slightly fortunate to not concede a penalty after her handball, but the right decision was ultimately reached by officials. Apart from that nervy moment, she was impressive in a resilient defence.

CB: Niamh Charles - 8/10 - Part of a stubborn defensive unit, featuring on the left of three centre-backs. Made some important blocks as the minutes ticked away.

LB: Ashley Lawrence - 8/10 - Used her speed effectively in both halves, stifling Hansen throughout. Barca's forwards couldn't get any joy down her left-hand side.

CM: Erin Cuthbert - 8/10 - Showed fantastic composure at the key moment to put Chelsea ahead and made some positive runs deep into Barca territory.

CM: Sjoeke Nusken - 7/10 - Her neat play set up Cuthbert before the break, with the German covering every blade of grass.

CM: Melanie Leupolz - 6/10 - Forced to do her fair share of defensive work and fought hard as part of a midfield trio.

ST: Mayra Ramirez - 7/10 - Her hold-up play gave Chelsea an out ball and she was a handful for the Barcelona backline throughout. Could have earned her side a penalty, but was also guilty of spurning a great chance late on.

ST: Lauren James - 6/10 - Full of endeavour but not her most memorable performance, even if she showed glimpses of her quality with some powerful runs.


SUB: Catarina Macario (73' for James) - 6/10

SUB: Guro Reiten (90+2' for Ramirez) - N/A

Subs not used: Zecira Musovic (GK), Katie Cox (GK), Millie Bright, Eve Perisset, Sophie Ingle, Fran Kirby, Agnes Beever-Jones.


Emma Hayes - 9/10 - A brilliant effort from her side, who performed with incredible grit and determination under pressure. A perfectly-executed game plan, allowing Barca just one shot on target.

Player of the match - Jess Carter (Chelsea)