Chelsea 0-2 Barcelona: Champions League pain for Emma Hayes (2024)

Emma Hayes' entrance at Stamford Bridge on Saturday was greeted with a roar as she waved to the crowd and smiled - but she left the pitch in tears, blowing kisses, as Chelsea's European dream was ended yet again by Barcelona.

The Spanish giants have become Chelsea's nemesis in the Women's Champions League, inflicting defeat in the 2021 final and now two consecutive semi-finals.

And this latest blow hurt the most.

A stunning result in Spain on 20 April meant Chelsea went into Saturday's second leg with a 1-0 lead and plenty of optimism.

The lead, though, was quickly cancelled out by Aitana Bonmati's deflected strike.

Two contentious decisions from referee Iuliana Demetrescu would follow on a painful night in London - the second booking of Chelsea defender Kadeisha Buchanan and a penalty for the defending champions that was converted by Fridolina Rolfo.

Both decisions would play a major part in Chelsea's defeat at a sold-out Stamford Bridge, where home fans had flocked in the hope that Hayes could have the send-off her successful 12-year tenure deserved.

Instead, this tie ended in heartbreak for Hayes and for Chelsea, going down 2-0 on the night and 2-1 on aggregate.

The manager sat in a packed media conference room afterwards, clearly holding back tears, as she described Demetrescu's decision to send off Buchanan as the "worst in Champions League history".

She claimed her side had been "robbed" of the chance to challenge Barcelona's European dominance - a task that was "already hard enough".

Hayes and her players might have dreamed about celebrating a place in the final, but instead there was the familiar image of Barcelona's squad dancing and singing, with echoes of their delight drifting into the media conference area as they made their way into the dressing room.

Chelsea fans stayed back to pay tribute to Hayes after a frenetic ending to a pulsating tie - but it was not the way they had planned it.

The Women's Champions League is the one trophy that has eluded Hayes with Chelsea.

She was part of the Arsenal coaching staff when the Gunners won the European title in 2007, and to fall agonisingly short again at Chelsea means there is a significant missing piece from her team's collection of silverware.

This was, of course, not all about Hayes.

Her ambition has been matched by the club and the players as they embarked on a journey throughout her 12 years, all with the intention of winning this most prized trophy.

Captain Millie Bright, who has played in all of Hayes' seasons at the club, joined her manager in tears as they huddled together on the pitch for a post-match debrief.

Bright had come on as a substitute, appearing for the first time in five months having recovered from injury, but she could do nothing to change their fortunes with Chelsea already a player down and a goal down on aggregate.

Other warriors of Hayes' tenure endured the pain too - Scotland international Erin Cuthbert, who has worn the armband in Bright's absence a lot this season, was on her knees at full-time and needed consoling by goalkeeper Zecira Musovic.

They had done all they could, but it was still not enough to beat the best team in the world.

While Hayes' farewell to Stamford Bridge ended in utter disappointment, there is still a big game to come at their usual home, Kingsmeadow.

Among the four Women's Super League matches they still have to play is a home game with relegation-bound Bristol City on 5 May.

That, along with the three away matches, will carry great significance as Chelsea look to defend their WSL title against a strong challenge from rivals Manchester City.

It is the only trophy Chelsea can win this season, having already been knocked out of both domestic cup competitions.

Talk of a fairytale ending for Hayes at the club has quickly vanished. A quadruple was on the cards until recently, and being spoken about among the players, but Chelsea could yet finish empty-handed.

As Cuthbert rightly said last week, Hayes' "legacy will not be defined" by their Champions League journey - but the idea she could leave without any trophy in 2024, having lifted so many throughout her years in charge, would have seemed almost absurd just weeks ago.

This is not how the story is supposed to end. When the tears dry up and the emotions cool down, Chelsea must respond.

Chelsea 0-2 Barcelona: Champions League pain for Emma Hayes (2024)


Who was the bad referee for Chelsea vs Barcelona? ›

The Dutchman could understand his forward's fury. On an infamous night of high drama at Stamford Bridge on May 6, 2009, Chelsea saw four separate penalty appeals waved away by referee Tom Henning Ovrebo during an enthralling Champions League semi-final second-leg clash with Barcelona.

What did Drogba say to the referee? ›

At the end of the match, Drogba, furious, confronted Øvrebø: "I told him he was a disgrace and that people would remember him," reveals the former Chelsea striker: "I was restrained but I wanted to say certain things to him, but I would never hit a referee."

How long has Emma Hayes been at Chelsea? ›

This season will be Hayes' last at the helm, having announced her pending departure in November, and her remarkable 12-years as Chelsea manager was recognised earlier this week when she joined the Shed End legends at Stamford Bridge.

Which English team has beaten Chelsea the most? ›

The side has lost more league games to Liverpool than to any other club, having been defeated by them 71 times in 162 encounters.

Who was the referee that robbed Chelsea? ›

Tom Henning Øvrebø
Born26 June 1966 Oslo, Norway
Other occupationPsychologist
5 more rows

What happened to referee after Chelsea vs Barcelona? ›

He became a psychologist after hanging up his whistle

For those wondering what Ovrebo does now, he went on to become a psychologist after studying the subject while at university during his younger years and works at the Norwegian School of Sports Sciences.

Was Chelsea vs Barcelona 2009 fixed? ›

GUUS HIDDINK thought Chelsea's 2009 Champions League semi-final defeat to Barcelona might have been fixed - even though the referee owned up to making mistakes. The Blues were denied a spot in the final after the official Tom Henning Ovrebo made a series of blunders.

Why is Drogba so good? ›

He consistently menaced low-block defences with his physicality and intelligent movement which drew all the attention to him, he allowed others to shine.

What Drogba said about Ronaldo? ›

However, for his part, Ivorian legend, Drogba chose Ronaldo when he was once asked who he believed the better player of the duo was. The former Chelsea striker claimed it was 'a known fact': "Everybody knows Ronaldo is better than Messi, not just me.

How many trophies has Emma Hayes won with Chelsea? ›

Back then, the Blues had little history of success in the women's game, but that has all changed dramatically. To date, the club has won 15 trophies under Hayes' charge, and that number could well increase before she departs this summer to take over as the new head coach of the United States women's national team.

How much does Emma Hayes earn? ›

Revealed: How much Emma Hayes is set to earn as USWNT boss after rejecting Chelsea's offer to quadruple her salary. Emma Hayes will earn $2 million (£1.6m) per season when she takes over as coach of the United States Women's national team next summer.

What surgery has Emma Hayes had? ›

Emma Hayes: Chelsea manager has emergency hysterectomy because of endometriosis. Chelsea boss Emma Hayes will take time away from the club as she recovers from an emergency hysterectomy. Hayes, 45, revealed she had surgery last week as part of her "ongoing battle with endometriosis".

What happened with Chelsea and Barcelona? ›

Chelsea had done the unthinkable in Spain, delivering Barcelona's first home defeat in more than five years and holding a team that hadn't failed to score since April 2022. Those facts spoke to the challenge before them at Stamford Bridge, which they sold out for the first time for a women's game.

What happened at the Barcelona-Chelsea game? ›

The Blues, who played 30 minutes with ten players, were beaten 2-0 on the night and 2-1 on aggregate by Barcelona in the semi-finals. Chelsea came into the second leg with a one-goal lead thanks to Erin Cuthbert's strike in Catalonia.

Who was the referee for Barcelona vs PSG? ›

Barcelona manager Xavi blamed his team's Champions League exit to Paris Saint-Germain on Romanian referee István Kovács, whose performance in Tuesday's quarterfinal second leg he labeled a “disaster.”

When did Barcelona rob Chelsea? ›

Relive the infamous Barcelona vs Chelsea robbery in the 2009 Champions League. Discover the unfairness, controversy, and rigging that unfolded in this highly anticipated match.

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