Barcelona beat Brann in the first leg of the Champions League quarterfinals

Caroline Graham Hansen and Salma Paralluelo scored in Barcelona's 2-1 over Brann


A lack of clinical finishing made things more difficult than perhaps they needed to be but Barcelona managed to come away with a 2-1 win over Brann in the first leg of the Women's Champions League quarterfinal.

The Catalan side started the match strong with Caroline Graham Hansen scoring the opener nine minutes into the first half. Barcelona were all over the hosts in possession as well as creating goal scoring opportunities.

From how things were going, it seemed like only a matter of time before Barcelona scored a second en route to a rout. Despite all the chances they created, a second goal never came.

Spurred on by the home support, Brann broke through on a counter as Cecilie Redisch Kvamme scored the equalizer much to the surprise of Kvamme herself as she seemed to be in disbelief during her celebration.

The goal was certainly against the run of play, making Barcelona rue the chances they missed. In a match that could have been all but over after the first 45 minutes, Brann were in the game.

"In the first half, I think we were much better than them, with more than 20 chances to score. But for me the most important thing is not what happened, but the reaction the team had," said Jonatan Giraldez. "In the end, they had one clear chance and they score.

The equalizer spurred Brann forward as they did well in pressing Barcelona leading to uncharacteristic losses in possession from Giraldez's side. While Brann didn't manage many scoring opportunities, they did stifle the Barcelona attack whether through the defenders or heroics from goalkeeper Aurora Mikalsen.

Barcelona finally broke through in the 72nd minute thanks to Salma Paralluelo. After getting a pass from Graham Hansen inside the box, Aitana Bonmati laid it off to Paralluelo who, with a swift turn, got herself into position and give Barcelona the lead.

Paralluelo's shot took a deflection on its way but it was no less than Barcelona deserved given some of the shots that didn't go in beforehand.

If not for a crossbar later on, Barcelona could have gotten a third. In the end, they were forced to settle for the 2-1 win.

"I think as a team, we played very well. Of course, we didn't want to conceded the goal we conceded," Graham Hansen said after the match. "Personally, I'm a bit disappointed. I think I should have helped the team more by scoring all my chances today. So it's a bit bittersweet, but overall very, very happy that in the end we got the deserved win."

It was a strange game for Graham Hansen as, like she says, probably should have scored more than just the one goal. Also, whenever she had the ball, the Brann fans booed the Norwegian.


The advantage, slim or not, is important for Barcelona with the return leg slated for March 28 at the Estadi Johan Cruyff. A place in the semifinals is on the line. Should the Catalan side come out victorious, Chelsea -- up 3-0 against Ajax -- awaits them in a rematch of last season's semifinal.