West News Wire: Barcelona has won the Women’s Champions League for the second time in three years after rallying from two goals behind to defeat VfL Wolfsburg 3-2 in a dramatic final in Eindhoven in front of a sold-out crowd.
Fridolina Rolfo, a Swedish defender, scored the game-winning goal from close range in the 70th minute to cap off Barcelona’s incredible comeback after falling behind 2-0 at the interval on Saturday.
In the opening five minutes of the second half, Patricia Guijarro scored twice to give the Spanish league champions an immediate advantage.
Following their first victory over Chelsea in 2021, Jonatan Giraldez’s team has now won two of the past three finals, solidifying their position as the major challengers to record eight-time winners.
Alexia Putellas, a two-time Ballon d’Or winner, sat out until the very end as Barcelona won, but she is now back in shape after missing much of the season with a knee injury.
“I’m so emotional; I never imagined this would happen,” said match-winner Rolfo to DAZN. “At 2-0 [down] in the beginning, I felt we could do it, but it was so hard.”
“I’m really proud of the team; we displayed such great mental toughness tonight.
“[At halftime, we said] we should just keep going. We had the ball, and we did a terrific job, but they scored two goals from their two chances. But we had to keep going, and we did.
Ewa Pajor picked Lucy Bronze’s pocket on the edge of the box and smashed past Sandra Panos to give Wolfsburg the lead after just three minutes.
The England international’s rust was evident because she had not played since having knee surgery following the semifinal first-leg victory against Chelsea in April.
The tournament’s leading scorer Pajor’s effort was stopped by custodian Panos, but he could have done more to save her ninth goal.
Irene Paredes, a defender for Barcelona, missed an opportunity to equalise after Mapi Leon’s beautifully delivered corner with a clear header at the far post.
Caroline Graham Hansen, who scored in both halves of the semifinal victory over Chelsea, missed a wonderful opportunity from close range.
Soon Barcelona paid the price for their profligacy, with Wolfsburg netting the second on the counterattack.
Veteran forward Alexandra Popp muscled Leon off the ball, which Barcelona was unhappy about, before darting into the box to head home the second from Pajor’s cross.
Barcelona lacked awareness and couldn’t match their opponents’ vigour, so the Germans deserved to win.
But Wolfsburg, which was attempting to win their first Champions League championship since 2014, found Barcelona’s second-half frenzy to be too much.
In the end, they offered too little to stop Barcelona from winning the title in front of over 34,000 spectators at Eindhoven’s PSV Stadium, although coming close to doing so from a corner in stoppage time.
The Women’s Champions League final this year was played in front of a sold-out crowd for the first time ever, drawing the largest audience to a women’s football game ever played in the Netherlands.