Chelsea and Real Madrid left their Champions League group well after a 1-1 draw at the Alfredo Di Stefano Stadium on Thursday evening.
Gaurav Retten’s second-half penalty canceled out Caroline Weir’s first-half opener in a tightly-contested contest, and it means Chelsea, Real Madrid and PSG are still mathematically through to the quarter-finals. are able to qualify as the group winners advance to the final two group stage matches.
Chelsea started in the ascendancy, with Sam Kerr cracking the bar from close range inside two minutes before an Erin Cuthbert corner triggered a goalmouth scramble.
But just as they had done at Kingsmeadow a fortnight ago, Real upped the ante. The lively Olga Carmona saw an effort fly wide as the Spanish outfit began to enjoy more possession in the Blues half.
It was a rough ’45 at first, characterized by numerous turnovers and transitions. Chelsea capitalized on a misplaced pass deep into the Real half on the half-hour mark, as Lauren James picked up a loose ball and slid in Kerr. Chelsea were again denied by the woodwork, this time smacking the post.
The visitors were made to pay for their missed chances as Real took the lead six minutes later. Ann-Katrin Berger’s poor pass in midfield was intercepted by Weir, who diligently slotted the ball into the back of the net from the edge of the area – her first in three matches against WSL opposition since leaving the league in the summer. Second round.
Chelsea were gifted a golden chance to draw level 14 minutes into the second half when Goro Retain was clumsily tripped by Ivana Andres. Retain’s subsequent spot-kick rattled the post, but deflected off the unfortunate Mesa Rodriguez’s head.
The game stretched and opened up more in the final 15 minutes, Berger redeeming himself after his first-half mistake with a brilliant save to keep Carmona out of point-blank range.
It was Mesa’s turn to pull off a brilliant stop as the clock ticked down with another chance going begging for Kerr. The Royal keeper made a brilliant move to put Chelsea ahead, which was brilliantly found by Retain, to secure a point for his side.
Kathleen Sosa starts in the heart of the real backline / Angel Martinez / Getty Images
GK: Misa Rodríguez – 7/10 – It’s unfortunate to see Retten’s penalty go to the back of his head after diving correctly. Made a brilliant, stretching save in the latter stages to keep Kerr out and secure a point for his side.
RB: Ivana Andres – 5/10 – He lost his bearings when Retten came in behind and brought it down haphazardly for Chelsea to equalise.
CB: Rocío Gálvez – 7/10 – Steady and reliable, hardly put a foot wrong.
CB: Kathleen – 6/10 – Made a big block to keep James out in the first half. Lost track of Kerr on a couple of occasions and luckily didn’t get punished, but otherwise largely solid.
LB: Olga Carmona – 8/10 – Really light and attacking, moving on every possibility. Fired just wide in the first half, and was denied an excellent Berger stop in the second.
CM: Claudia Zornozza – 5/10 – Struggled to keep his foot on the ball and string together a series of passes in a transition game. 15 replaced with the rest.
CM: Sandy Tolletti – 7/10 – Neat in possession and pushed Real forward from midfield.
CM: Caroline Weir – 7/10 – Great hope to open the scoring, intercepting a poor pass with his first touch and slotting the ball into an empty net from the edge of the area with his second. Ozed class throughout.
RW: Athenea Del Castillo – 6/10 – Had a real battle with Eriksen, drawing a few cheap fouls and really frustrating the Chelsea full-back. There was less joy against Charles in the second half.
ST: Easter – 5/10 – Well marshaled by Bright and Buchanan and not really a sniff. Changed after hours.
LW: Naomie Feller – 5/10 – Outshun on the left flank by Carmona behind him. There was a massive silence.
SUB: Sofie Svava (62′ for Easter) – 6/10
SUB: Maite Oroz (76′ for Zornoza) – 5/10
SUB: Nahikari Garcia (89′ for Feller) – N/A
Lauren James returns to the starting XI for Chelsea / Quality Sport Images / Getty Images
GK: Ann Catherine Berger – 5/10 – Real was a mare for the goal, trying to play dangerously in midfield and saw his pass clipped by Wier on the edge of the area. Atoned for his mistake in the second half with a big save to keep out Carmona.
RB: Jace Carter – 6/10 – A really tough battle with the impressive Carmona – the Real full-back got the better of him twice in the second half, but otherwise it was a very even contest between the pair.
CB: Millibright – 7/10 – Made several key interceptions and did a good job keeping Esther under wraps with Buchanan.
CB: Kadeisha Buchanan – 7/10 – Popped up with a big block to keep Weir out in the first half and had plenty of success in the air.
LB: Magdalena Eriksson – 5/10 – There was a real scrap with Del Castillo, quickly becoming frustrated with the ease with which the Real winger hit the deck in the first half. Didn’t push forward too much, and replaced the more aggressive Charles on the break.
CM: Sophie Ingle – 7/10 – Beat Retain with a brilliant lofted pass to equalize for Chelsea. Sometimes one of the best heads in a random encounter.
CM: Erin Cuthbert – 6/10 – Struggled to stamp their authority on the game in the first half as possession constantly changed hands. An improved second-half display, impressive with his ability to carry the ball into the front three.
CM: Jesse Fleming – 4/10 – Struggled at times to hold onto the ball and make his mark on the action. Before the change at half-time, there is massive service and hunger on the edge of play.
RW: Lauren James – 7/10 – Played in Kerr with an impeccably weighted pass in the first half, which Chelsea should have scored. Flashes of quality with his superb feet, power and intelligence.
ST: Sam Kerr – 5/10 – Cracked the bar inside two minutes from close range, hit the post when denied by a V-One on the half-hour mark and a Mesa in the dying stages – chances she usually buried.
LW: Guru Retain – 7/10 – Chelsea equalized after winning a penalty. Cracked the post with his effort, which still went over Mesa’s head. His delivery was on point as always; Played a brilliant teasing, looping ball across the face of goal, begged to be buried and picked out Kerr with a brilliant through ball in the later stages.
SUB: Niamh Charles (46′ for Eriksson) – 7/10 – Made a real impact off the bench with his pace, athleticism and determination.
SUB: Fran Kirby (46′ for Fleming) – 6/10
SUB: Johanna Rytting Kaneryd (77′ for James) – 5/10
Man of the Match: Olga Carmona (Real Madrid)