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Chelsea have become the second English team to reach a European Final, and the first for fourteen years, after they overcame a first leg deficit in their UEFA Women's Champions League semi final by beating Bayern Munich 4-1 at Kingsmeadow on Sunday, to complete a 5-3 victory on aggregate.
Chelsea were handed a pre-match boost with the return of key defender Magdalena Eriksson, who had missed the first leg, and they got off to a great start as Fran Kirby exchanged passes with Sam Kerr before slotting home to put them ahead, both in the match and on away goals, inside the opening ten minutes.
Bayern responded strongly to the setback and it took a good block from Jess Carter to keep out a goalbound shot from Lineth Beerensteyn but there was nothing they could do as Sarah Zadrazil crashed home a 25-yard shot of the underside of the bar to bring the scores level on the day, and restore their one-goal advantage overall.
Two minutes before half time, Chelsea got the goal they craved to tie everything up again. Ji So-Yun has scored a number of crucial goals for the Blues over the years and she came up trumps again, this time scoring with the rebound from a free kick after her initial shot had been blocked.
The game remained in the balance throughout the second half until six minutes from time, when a Carter free kick was headed in at the near post by Pernille Harder, to put Chelsea in front on aggregate for the first time in the tie.
One goal would still be enough for Bayern at this stage though and they piled on immense pressure in the final few minutes. Although not completely composed at times, Chelsea held on as the ball was rained into their area and the sucker punch came five minutes into injury time.
Chelsea were able to clear and, with Bayern goalkeeper Laura Benkarth up with her attackers, Kirby picked up the ball and was able to run almost the length of the pitch and into the empty net for her second goal on the day, and to spark wild celebrations over reaching the Final for the very first time.
Chelsea's opponents in the Final, in Gothenburg on Saturday 16th May, will be FC Barcelona after they defeated Paris Saint-Germain 2-1 in their second leg, and 3-2 on aggregate.
Dutch winger Lieke Martens was the heroine for Barcelona as she scored both goals during the first half, putting them two ahead at one stage and although Marie-Antoinette Katoto pulled one back for PSG ahead of half time, Barcelona saw the game out to reach the Final for the second time in three years.
The UEFA Referees Committee has announced that Riem Hussein will referee the 2021 UEFA Women's Champions League final between Chelsea and FC Barcelona. The match will be played at Gamla Ullevi in Gothenburg, Sweden, on Sunday 16th May.
The 40-year-old German, an international referee since 2009, will be taking charge of her first UEFA Women's Champions League final after having been appointed as fourth official for the 2017 final between Olympique Lyonnais and Paris Saint-Germain in Cardiff, Wales.
Hussein has officiated at two matches in the UEFA Women's Champions League this season - the Round of 16 first leg match between FC Rosengĺrd and SKN St. Pölten, and the Round of 32 first leg encounter between Juventus and Olympique Lyonnais. She was also selected as a referee for the FIFA Women's World Cup 2019 in France and UEFA Women's EURO 2017 in the Netherlands, taking charge of three matches at each tournament.
At the final in Gothenburg, Hussein will be assisted by Katrin Rafalski from Germany and Austria's Sara Telek. The fourth official is Katalin Kulcsár from Hungary. The video assistant referee (VAR) role has been assigned to Germany's Bastian Dankert, and he will be accompanied by his compatriot Christian Dingert. The reserve assistant referee is Julia Magnusson from Sweden.
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