Every week Chelsea Women show they are the team to beat in England. That however is not the case in Europe, with the Blues yet to lift the Women’s Champions League trophy despite our best efforts over the last several years.
Much like in England, competition at the European level is getting ever stronger by the day. In a group with the second-best forces of Sweden, France and Spain, Chelsea really can’t afford any slips if they are to get manager Emma Hayes the only trophy missing in her record leading the club.
Sometimes luck gets in the way. As it was the case with Olga Carmona’s tentative long-range attempt against Ann-Katrin Berger’s goal that thanks to a Millie Bright deflection, got Real Madrid the lead in our first match of the Champions League’s group stage tonight.
That was a gift from heavens for a Real Madrid side that were having issues dealing with our attacking approaches early on in the game. Now they could simply sit back and protect the lead to the best of their abilities, as Chelsea found it hard to break down tight lines without Guro Reiten on the pitch.
There was still one player really incensed about all of this: Niamh Charles. She who was single-handedly keeping Madrid’s defence busy on the left wing of the pitch was at the end of a great Ashley Lawrence to the far post to get us level only a few minutes before the end of first half.
For whatever reason Real Madrid were more than satisfied with taking the single point from this Chelsea match. The Blues more than welcomed their passiveness as each approach near their box only got us closer and closer to completing the comeback against the hosts.
It was in fact only a matter of patience and trying enough times to finally breach them. Again Niamh Charles was involved, only this time assisting Sam Kerr with a left-flank cross so the Australian striker could head us into the lead.
Our happiness really didn’t last long. Jessie Fleming “fouled” a Real Madrid near the box, and the player took a couple of steps before jumping right onto the floor. Olga Carmona didn’t pay any mind to that, and just converted the chance from the spot to get Madrid back level.
This was given as a penalty to Real Madrid... What a joke... pic.twitter.com/XpcyL6qvub— Chelsea Women Daily (@CFCWdaily) November 15, 2023
Then it was only a matter of Real Madrid wasting all the time they could in light of a referee who simply can’t ever step on the pitch again unless VAR is set in these kind of matches. Hooray for them, I guess.
- Ashley Lawrence gets the starting spot at right-back with Ève Périsset on the bench. We also have Johanna Rytting Kaneryd starting as right winger, and Fran Kirby back in the no.10/central attacking midfield role from the get-go.
- Sub is Lauren James for Fran Kirby.
- Niamh Charles on another day of strengthening her Ballon d’Or claim.
- Meanwhile Jessie Fleming having one of her worst ever matches for Chelsea, making Guro Reiten’s stock even more expensive.
- Really hard to be in any way objective about the match after seeing Real Madrid play for a draw and getting it due to one of the most baffling refereeing decisions I’ve ever seen. There’s no way to complain about how VAR corrupts the essence of football when there’s a professional referee making these kinds of calls and not having someone to review it.
- Next up: Liverpool at home in the Women’s Super League.