Football: Lessons from 2019 UWCL final fuel Barça women against Chelsea

Camille B. Naredo, ABS-CBN News

Posted at May 16 2021 01:44 PM

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MANILA, Philippines -- Barcelona Femení hope that second time's the charm when they face off against Chelsea in the final of the UEFA Women's Champions League, Sunday at the Gamla Ullevi in Gothenburg, Sweden (early Monday in Manila).

The final pits the best of England against the best of Spain, with Chelsea having retained the Women's Super League title and Barcelona winning the Primera Iberdrola last week.

"It's gonna be a really, really interesting final, because they won their league a couple of days in England, and also we won our league a couple of days ago, here, as well," Barcelona striker Asisat Oshoala said in a recent media roundtable.

"It's the Champions League, of course. You wanna be the winner, you have to beat everyone," she added.

Barcelona striker Asisat Oshoala. Photo courtesy of FC Barcelona Femení

Oshoala, also the star striker of Nigeria, was the lone goal-scorer for Barça when they made their first appearance in the final in 2019. 

They were overwhelmed by French powerhouse Lyon, 4-1: Dzsenifer Marozsán opened the scoring in the fifth minute, and Ada Hegerberg netted a first half hat-trick. Oshoala struck at the 89th minute to give Barcelona a consolation goal.

Oshoala believes the lessons from that loss will serve them well as they take on a Chelsea side that is making its first appearance in the Women's Champions League final.

"I think it's about experience, because now we already have experience; how the European football is, and also how a top game like this is being played," she said. "I think we're gonna be better, with the tactics this year, how we'll go out and play and everything."

"For us, it was good, we played in the final in 2019, we lost, and then we picked up our corrections from there," she added. "Against Chelsea, I don't think we're gonna make the same mistakes again, because we already learned from the past."

Barça gained more experience in games against other top European teams, having played Wolfsburg in the semifinal in 2020. On the road to this year's final, they outclassed Manchester City in the quarterfinal, and edged Paris Saint-Germain in a thrilling semi.

"It's just all about experience," Oshoala stressed. "We're a better team than we were two years ago. You don't expect to see the same Barça."

Barcelona boast of a powerful attack, with Oshoala, Lieke Martens, and Jennifer Hermoso combining for 15 goals in the competition leading up to the final. But they are on guard against an equally potent Chelsea team, particularly the tandem of Fran Kirby and Sam Kerr who have been playing at a high level in all competitions for the English champions.

"They are great players, they are good players. Not just Sam Kerr or Fran Kirby," Oshoala said. "There are also other players that are actually really, really good on their team."

"But at the end of the day, I feel like we just focus on our own game plan, focus on our own team. We don't care about what other teams do. We just want to play our own stay, wanna play our own football. So it doesn't really matter who's on the other team," she added.

Oshoala is confident that the match will be one to remember, even as fans won't be allowed at the stadium due to COVID-19 restrictions.

"It's just gonna be a very, very interesting one, because both teams have top stars around the world. It's gonna be really interesting back-and-forth game, and I don't know, I wanted to say back-and-forth goals, but I don't know how it's gonna be," she said.

"It's gonna be very interesting, to be honest It's not gonna be a boring match, I promise you."

The UEFA Women's Champions League final can be seen on Barça TV, DAZN, and in the Philippines.