Olga Carmona’s controversial penalty denied dominant Chelsea a deserved opening-game Women’s Champions League win with a 2-2 draw at Real Madrid.
Carmona’s equaliser 11 minutes from time came after Athenea del Castillo was fouled by Jessie Fleming – though the offending touch clearly occurred outside the box.
Without VAR available, Frida Klarlund’s on-field decision was left to stand, to deny the Blues of a much-deserved win in the Spanish capital.
Their disappointment was further added to with almost the last kick of the game when Niamh Charles saw what would have been her second goal of the night and the winner ruled out by a raised flag for reasons which were still unclear by the full-time whistle.
The Blues fell behind early on to Carmona’s deflected strike after 10 minutes but dominated from then-on at the Alfredo Di Stefano Stadium.
Sam Kerr tested Misa Rodriguez before Charles’ powerful header pulled the Blues level on the stroke of half-time.
They continued to take the game to their hosts after the break but took until the 75th minute to finally find a way through, when Charles’ inviting cross was nodded home by Kerr.
Their lead only lasted four minutes before Fleming’s clumsy foul was given a harsher punishment than it deserved when Klarlund pointed to the spot, and Carmona doubled her tally for the night.
There was still more drama to follow, when Charles thought she had found a last-gasp winner from Ashley Lawrence’s cross until the assistant referee ruled out her effort with a raised flag.
She was clearly onside at the time – and though Kerr was ahead of the last defender, she made no realistic attempt to play the ball on its way through the box, leaving an added bitter taste in the mouths of the Blues that they did not kick off their tournament with three points.
More to follow…
Chelsea now have three home games before the international break. They are next in action on Saturday as they host Liverpool in the WSL at Stamford Bridge.
Their second Champions League group fixture is on Thursday November 23 when they host Paris FC, before host Leicester on Sunday November 26.