PARIS: Barcelona edged Roma 1-0 in the first leg of their Women’s Champions League quarter-final tie on Tuesday after a Lea Schueller goal had given Bayern Munich a victory by the same score against Arsenal. Nineteen-year-old Salma Paralluelo curled in a strike from the edge of the area in the 34th minute for Barcelona at the Stadio Olimpico. That proved enough to take a lead back to Catalonia for next week’s return leg.
Barcelona found themselves up against it in the closing stages, with captain Sandro Panos making fine late saves to deny Manuela Giugliano and Valentina Giacinti in front of a crowd of more than 39,000. Barcelona will be favourites to advance to the last four as they seek to reach a third consecutive final. They won the title in 2021 and were runners-up to Lyon last season.
In Munich, Germany forward Schueller scored the only goal for Bayern six minutes before half-time, rising at the back post to head in a hanging cross from the right by Maximiliane Rall. Arsenal could have come away with at least a draw to take back for the second leg in London. Caitlin Foord hit the woodwork early in the second half.
Japan’s Saki Kumagai made a superb goal-line clearance to deny Stina Blackstenius, and Schueller made a similar intervention to stop Leah Williamson. “It was an even game and could have ended 1-1,” said Bayern coach Alexander Straus. “Arsenal were pushing us in the second half and we were defending deeper than we wanted to, so credit to them for that.”
Arsenal, whose 2007 victory remains the only time an English club has won the competition, went out to another German club, Wolfsburg, at this stage last season. “We need to make sure to take our chances next week, and I’m sure we’ll do that,” said Arsenal captain Kim Little. The return leg will be at the Emirates Stadium next Wednesday. Before that Bayern face Wolfsburg in a meeting of the top two in the German Bundesliga at the weekend. – AFP