Emma Hayes kept her emotions in check all week and finally let them out at the final whistle with her Chelsea club clinching its spot in the Women's Champions League final.
Chelsea defeated Bayern Munich, 4-1, in Sunday's match and 5-3 in aggregate to advance to its first Champions League final in club history.
Hayes, the first female coach to reach the final in 12 years, was overcome with emotion at the win as players and staff exuberantly celebrated on the pitch. She got some air in a celebratory leap and shed tears as the match went final.
“I’ve learned over the years that, of course I want to win the final, but I am going to acknowledge the achievement of making history getting there because we put thousands of hours into what we do and I’m going to have a nice evening tonight," Hayes said after the match, via PA Media.
"I’m overwhelmed with emotion. I can’t describe it. I almost can’t let the tears go. How do you describe the pride you have for the club you represent, for the people you represent? I’m a very maternal figure in here and I’m so happy for everyone.”
During the post-match broadcast interview, Hayes said she had worked her whole life for the feat and she's "so f***ing proud of these players" for delivering.
Fran Kirby put Chelsea in front in the 11th minute, equalizing the aggregate score in the process.
Sarah Zadrazil gave Bayern the lead back in the 29th minute, only to have Ji So-Yun equalize by half. Pernille Harder delivered a header in the 84th minute and Kirby broke free for an empty net score late.
Hayes, Chelsea could win quadruple
Hayes has focused on winning the title with Chelsea since taking over in 2012. They reached the semifinal in 2018 and 2019 and are only the second English team to reach the final. The first team was Arsenal in 2007 when Hayes was the assistant manager to Vic Akers. The Gunners won what was then called the UEFA Women's Cup.
“I’ve wanted today so badly,” Hayes said, via PA Media in the UK. “It was the longest week in the world. I had to do everything to keep my emotions in check, keep training normal. I just wanted the game to come. I’m so happy it was an early kick-off."
Chelsea could win a quadruple. If they defeat either Tottenham or Reading in the two remaining Women's Super League matches, they'd earn back-to-back domestic league titles. The club has already won the League Cup in March and could add an FA Cup title for the fourth.
The Women's Champions League will have a first-time winner at the one-off May 16 final. Barcelona defeated PSG, 2-1, in the day's other semifinal for a 3-2 aggregate win and first-ever berth in that final.
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