The Women’s Super League champions, Chelsea, will play Atlético Madrid in the last 16 of the UEFA Champions League. The only other British team left in the competition, Manchester City, face Fiorentina.
On January 16th, Atlético won the Supercopa final 3-0 against Levante, with two goals from the Cameroon forward Ajara Nchout and another from the Venezuela striker Deyna Castellanos. However, Atleti are struggling in La Liga Iberdrola, sitting 4th (10 points behind 1st place Barcelona), outside the qualification places for next season’s Champions League, and having played a game more than Real Madrid in 5th and three more than Granadilla Tenerife in 6th.
On the other side, Emma Hayes’ side, semi-finalists in 2018 and 2019, have been in stunning form over the past year, going on a record-breaking 33-game unbeaten run which was only recently ended by a shock home defeat to Brighton.
Meanwhile, Man City’s opponents, Fiorentina, are last season’s Serie A runners-up. City reached the semi-final in their first two Champions League campaigns in 2017 and 2018, losing to seven time Champions League holders’ Lyon (both times), but were eliminated by Atlético in the last 32 and last 16 in 2018/19 and 2019/20 respectively.
Fiorentina were knocked out by Arsenal in the last 32 last season, losing 6-0 on aggregate. This time, a 95th-minute goal from Daniela Sabatino against Slavia Prague earned a 1-0 win (3-2 in aggregate) to reach this season’s last 16.
Here’s the list of the rest of participants of the Round of 16:
Wolfsburg (GER) vs. LSK Kvinner (NOR)
Barcelona (ESP) vs. Fortuna Hjørring (DEN)
Rosengård (SWE) vs. St. Pölten (AUT)
BIIK-Kazygurt (KAZ) vs. Bayern München (GER)
Manchester City (ENG) vs. Fiorentina (ITA)
Sparta Praha (CZE) vs. Paris Saint-Germain (FRA)
Lyon (FRA, holders) vs. Brøndby (DEN)
Chelsea (ENG) vs. Atletico Madrid (ESP)
Due to the pandemic, the draw was split into two groups, with teams from the same country unable to meet, and Covid-19 travel restrictions taken into consideration. Furthermore, the matches were scheduled to be played on March 3-4th and 10-11th; while the final was set to be played in Gothenburg, Sweden, on May 16th.
Only one question remains: Who will claim the Women’s Champions League this year?