Lethal double act Hermoso and Oshoala can fire Barcelona to maiden Champions League glory
The Catalan giants’ dynamic duo could be the difference in their bid to make European history for club and country, writes Martin Whiteley.
Most sides are happy to have one prolific goalscorer in their ranks but Barcelona are in the envious position of having Jenni Hermoso and Asisat Oshoala — and that spells double trouble for their opponents.
At the weekend, Oshoala was part of the Barca side that claimed their 21st Primera Division Femenina win this term with a 4-0 victory at Sevilla. The rout also saw the champions burst through the century mark once again — this time for league goals scored this season.
Despite having played three games less than their closest rivals Levante, the victory keeps Barca nine points clear of the second-placed side following their 3-2 home win over Logrono.
While in midweek, Hermoso grabbed the final Barca goal in their 3-0 Champions League last-eight first-leg win over Manchester City. That strike was her fifth in the competition this campaign and moved her out in front in the leading scorer race.
If Hermoso and Oshoala maintain this ruthless form, Barca will have a great chance to deliver a historic first Champions League triumph for club and country. However, they’ll have to contend with PSG or seven-time champions Lyon — who broke their hearts in the 2019 final — in the semi-finals if they finish the job against City on Wednesday.
But it wouldn’t be the first time the dynamic duo have helped to take Barca from runners-up to title winners. They were wise to re-sign Spanish forward Hermoso for a second stint before the start of the 2019-20 season, on the back of four straight second-placed league finishes. When the Catalan side were crowned champions after the league was called last May, they were nine points clear of Atletico Madrid and unbeaten in 21 games.
Hermoso, 30, initially joined from the Swedish side Tyreso FF in January 2014, with Barca going on to win the league that year and also the following season as they completed a run of four successive titles.
France was the next port of call for Hermoso as she joined PSG, before heading home to spend a season with Atletico Madrid, which culminated in another title triumph.
Despite a truncated first season back with Barca due to the Covid-19 pandemic causing an early end of play, Hermoso still topped the Primera Division Femenina scoring charts with 23 goals in only 19 games. This season the attacker has averaged a goal a game from her 16 league appearances so far.
Oshoala, meanwhile, joined Barca at the end of January 2019 — initially on loan until the end of that season from Chinese side Dalian Quanjian — having previously played in England, firstly representing Liverpool and then Arsenal.
The striker scored seven league goals in as many appearances and also netted the consolation effort for the Spanish side in their 4-1 Champions League final loss to Lyon.
At the end of May, it was announced that the loan deal would become permanent and that Oshoala had penned — like Hermoso would do — a three-year deal with the club.
The 26-year-old found the net 20 times in 19 league games last season and in 20 appearances so for this campaign she has netted on 15 occasions.
Last Wednesday, the Nigeria striker made history when she opened the scoring against City to bring Barca’s tally up to a 100 European goals.
Keep their deadly double act on form for the rest of the campaign and this team must undoubtedly be a real contender to secure its first European success for not only the club but the country too. Doubles all round at the celebrations, surely?
Follow Martin on Twitter at @673martin
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