In our first match against Real Madrid this season, it took Chelsea almost 70 minutes to open the scoring against the Spaniards at Kingsmeadow. On the return match in Madrid the Blues would do whatever they could from kickoff to not wait as long, with Sam Kerr almost doing it — and failing to score on an open goal by hitting the crossbar with her first attempt in the game.
This would foreshadow what was to come for Chelsea in this first half. Even though the Blues kept most of possession and had more chances at goal, Madrid were more dangerous each time they got close to our area thanks to our own erraticness with the ball. And right after a Kerr shot that hit woodwork once again, Madrid got the first goal of the night via former Manchester City attacking midfielder, Caroline Weir.
Adjustments were made at half-time with Niamh Charles and Fran Kirby entering the pitch in place of Magda Eriksson and Jessie Fleming, trying perhaps to address the lack of quality in many of our passes today. Their presence did translate into an uptick in attacking forays and in one of those, Guro Reiten was brought down in the box. While she hit the post in her attempt to convert the spot kick, Madrid shot-stopper Misa Rodríguez involuntarily made sure the ball would go in with her back.
Despite the goal, Chelsea’s passing problems persisted. Madrid were still finding ways to annoy us at the back, and also the referee with their constant complaining on every single foul taking place on the pitch.
At the times Chelsea managed to get close to the opposing goal after Reiten’s penalty, the final pass was almost always lacking. Only Reiten with another bending pass towards Kerr, cutting across the entire opposing defence like she did in one of her four assists against Leicester City last weekend, managed to break the spell. But even then, the shot was parried by Rodríguez.
Just not meant to be. Carefree!
- Manager Emma Hayes goes for a four-woman backline with Jess Carter starting as right-back in place of Eve Perisset.
- Speaking of Carter, this is her 100th appearance as a Blue!
- Subs are Niamh Charles for Magda Eriksson, Fran Kirby for Jessie Fleming, and Johanna Rytting Kaneryd for Lauren James.
- Uncharacteristic lack of sharpness with passing today paying big dividends to our opponents. Hence Caroline Heir’s goal, on a massive mistake from Ann-Katrin Berger by passing the ball straight to her.
- Champions League refereeing just as bad as in the league. Aces!
- To be fair on Madrid, today they really showed up in comparison to the first match at Kingsmeadow — which is only natural given they are now playing at home, even if home support was not really heard through the DAZN feed. Still one can feel Chelsea’s passing mistakes were the main culprit behind it all.
- Berger making up for her passing mistake with superb shot-stopping in the second half.
- This tie means Chelsea’s 11-match winning streak — which began with a 2-0 win over Manchester City on September 25th, right after our 2-1 loss to Liverpool to start the domestic league — comes to an end.
- Next up: Reading at home in the Women’s Super League.