Emma Hayes says her side were “robbed” after Chelsea had to settle for a point in their Champions League opener at Real Madrid.
Olga Carmona’s penalty saw Hayes’ side held 2-2 – but there was late drama when Niamh Charles controversially had an effort ruled out in stoppage time.
Carmona put Real ahead in the 10th minute, but the Blues turned things around via two headers either side of the break, Charles equalising and then setting up Sam Kerr.
But moments later Carmona – scorer of Spain’s winner against England in the summer’s World Cup final – converted from the spot after Jessie Fleming was judged to have fouled Athenea del Castillo, although replays showed the challenge came outside the box.
With no VAR in operation – referee Frida Klarlund pointed to the spot, with Carmona powerfully dispatching the penalty past Berger.
There was further frustration for Hayes when Charles was adjudged to have been offside in the 95th minute when she found the net for a second time. Replays showed she was onside – but Sam Kerr may well have been interfering with play having been in front of the last defender.
Hayes said: “I could see from the bench that the tackle [for the penalty decision] was outside the box. So I’m absolutely shocked that those managing the game couldn’t see that.
“We went 2-1 up. Then there is the free-kick that was awarded as a penalty. Then we score a really legitimate goal with Niamh Charles three or four yards onside.
“I had to check why it was disallowed; was it Niamh? No. Was it Sam interfering with the goalkeeper? She was about seven yards away, nowhere near the ‘keeper.
“It is embarrassing. I had to check why it was disallowed. I cannot understand the decision whatsoever. I think we’ve been robbed of what was a 3-1 game.”
Substitute Lauren James rattled the crossbar as Chelsea were unable to secure a winning start to their final Champions League campaign before Hayes leaves at the end of the season and becomes United States head coach.
The west London outfit – who have not won this competition among the glut of trophies they have claimed under Hayes, going closest as runners-up in 2021 – return to Women’s Super League action against Liverpool at Stamford Bridge on Saturday before continuing their Group D games by taking on Paris FC at the same ground five days later.
Wednesday’s earlier game in the pool saw Paris FC beaten 2-1 at home by Swedish side BK Hacken.