BARCELONA: Holders Barcelona continued their torrid scoring form as they tore Wolfsburg apart in the first half of their women’s Champions League semi-final on the way to a 5-1 first leg win at the Camp Nou on Friday.
Before a women’s world record crowd of 91,648 at the Camp Nou, Barcelona repeatedly caught Wolfsburg flat footed in the first half.
“One of the keys was to start off well and get the crowd involved. Both attitude and our level of play were the best we could give and the crowd pushed us on to do that. We had three chances in the opening five minutes, which helped us and demoralised the opponent,” said Barcelona coach Jonatan Giraldez.
The attendance broke the record of 91,553 set three weeks ago at the Camp Nou as Barcelona beat Real Madrid in the quarter-finals.
“We will remember this as we grow old. It’s so special to experience a day like this,” said Barcelona midfielder Patricia Guijarro.
The Wolfsburg captain agreed.
“For women’s soccer, it’s extraordinary,” said Dominique Janssen.
Barcelona scored 146 goals in 27 matches as they won the Spanish league title and had hit 32 in the Champions League, but they had not scored in four previous meetings with Wolfsburg.
After two minutes, Aitana Bonmati changed that. Left back Fridolina Rolfo lofted a free kick from deep in the Barcelona half into the gap behind the Wolfsburg centre backs, as they turned ponderously and uncertainly, Bonmati scampered past and tucked the ball home.
“We knew what their shortcomings were defensively,” said Giraldez.
Caroline Graham Hansen added a second after 10 minutes. Ana-Maria Crnogorcevic stole the ball and played it into the Norwegian who had plenty of time to pick her finish.
In the 33rd minute, Marta Torrejon cut in from the right and once again was allowed time to choose between team-mates in front of goal, cutting the ball back to Jennifer Hermoso, who curled a shot into the far corner.
Inevitably, Ballon d’Or winner Alexia Putellas joined the scorers, outpacing and out-muscling the centre-backs as she ran on to a through ball and shot through goalie Almuth Schult.
“It’s probably one of the best first halves we’ve had so far this season,” said Giraldez.
Crnogorcevic had a close range strike disallowed for offside at the start of the second half and even though Barcelona continued to create chances, their finishing touch was less sure as Schult pulled off a string of saves.
Jill Roord gave Wolfsburg hope as she broke through to score after 73 minutes
But Putellas restored the four-goal lead with five minutes to play. She broke into the box and drew a clumsy challenge from Janssen. Then rolled the penalty into the corner of the net.
“We had never even scored against Wolfsburg, let alone beat them, but we have shown our ambition and that is the beauty of football,” said Guijarro. “They knocked us out two years ago and today we have played like this.”
Barcelona had 20 shots on target over the match while the Bundesliga leaders managed just three.
“It was incredible to experience this atmosphere tonight, but it can’t be seen as an excuse,” said Wolfsburg striker Tabea Wassmuth.
The teams meet again in Wolfsburg on April 30. The winner will face either Lyon or Paris Saint-Germain in the final. The French teams play their first leg on Sunday
“It is quite clear that Barca can already plan their trip to the final,”said Wolfsburg coach Tommy Stroot. “Our job will be to show a different face.”