Chelsea and Real Madrid left their Champions League group finely poised after a 1-1 draw at the Alfredo Di Stéfano Stadium on Thursday evening.
Guro Reiten’s second half penalty cancelled out Caroline Weir’s first half opener in a tightly fought contest, and means that Chelsea, Real Madrid and PSG are all still mathematically able to qualify for the quarter finals as group winners heading into the final two group stage matches.
Chelsea started in the ascendency, Sam Kerr cracking the bar from close range inside two minutes after an Erin Cuthbert corner had triggered a goal mouth scramble.
But just as they had done at Kingsmeadow a fortnight ago, Real grew into the game. The lively Olga Carmona saw an effort from range fly narrowly wide as the Spanish outfit started to enjoy more possession in the Blues half.
It was a scrappy first 45, characterised by multiple turnovers and transitions. Chelsea almost capitalised on a misplaced pass deep into the Real half on the half hour mark, as Lauren James picked up the loose ball and slipped in Kerr. The Chelsea was again denied by the woodwork, this time smacking the post.
The visitors were made to pay for their missed opportunities as Real took the lead six minutes later. Ann-Katrin Berger’s poor attempted pass into midfield was cut out by Weir, who diligently stroked the ball into the back of the net from the edge of the area – her second goal in three appearances against WSL opposition since departing the league in the summer.
Chelsea were gifted a golden opportunity to draw level 14 minutes into the second half after Guro Reiten was clumsily tripped by Ivana Andrés. Reiten’s subsequent spot kick clattered the post, but rebounded in off the head of the unfortunate Misa Rodriguez.
The game became more stretched and open in the final 15 minutes, with Berger redeeming herself following her first half error with a superb save to keep out Carmona from point blank range.
It was Misa’s turn to pull off a superb stop as the clock ticked down as another chance for Kerr went begging. The Real keeper stretched magnificently to keep out the Chelsea forward, who had been superbly found by Reiten, to preserve a point for her side.
GK: Misa Rodríguez – 7/10 – Unfortunate to see Reiten’s penalty go in off the back of her head after diving the correct way. Made a terrific, stretching save in the latter stages to keep out Kerr and preserve a point for her side.
RB: Ivana Andrés – 5/10 – Lost her bearings as Reiten got in behind and clumsily brought her down for the Chelsea equaliser.
CB: Rocío Gálvez – 7/10 – Steady and dependable, hardly put a foot wrong.
CB: Kathellen – 6/10 – Produced a big block to keep out James in the first half. Lost track of Kerr on a couple of occasions and was fortunate to not be punished, but otherwise largely solid.
LB: Olga Carmona – 8/10 – Really livley and attacking, getting forward at every possibility. Fired narrowly wide from range in the first half, and denied by an excellent Berger stop in the second.
CM: Claudia Zornoza – 5/10 – Struggled to get her foot on the ball and string a series of passes together in a transitional game. Replaced with 15 remaining.
CM: Sandie Toletti – 7/10 – Tidy in possession and drove Real forward from midfield.
CM: Caroline Weir – 7/10 – Great anticipation to open the scoring, intercepting a poor pass with her first touch and passing the ball into an empty net from the edge of the area with her second. Oozed class throughout.
RW: Athenea Del Castillo – 6/10 – Had a real battle with Eriksson, drawing a couple of cheap fouls and really frustrating the Chelsea full-back. Had less joy against Charles in the second half.
ST: Esther – 5/10 – Well marshalled by Bright and Buchanan and didn’t really have a sniff. Replaced just after the hour.
LW: Naomie Feller – 5/10 – Outshone on the left flank by Carmona behind her. Largely kept quiet.
SUB: Sofie Svava (62′ for Esther) – 6/10
SUB: Maite Oroz (76′ for Zornoza) – 5/10
SUB: Nahikari García (89′ for Feller) – N/A
GK: Ann-Katrin Berger – 5/10 – Had a mare for the Real goal, dangerously attempting to play into midfield and seeing her pass cut out by Wier on the edge of the area. Atoned for her error with a huge save to keep Carmona out in the second half.
RB: Jess Carter – 6/10 – Had a really tenacious battle with the impressive Carmona – the Real full-back got the better of her a couple of times in the second half, but it was otherwise a very even contest between the pair.
CB: Millie Bright – 7/10 – Made a number of important interceptions and did a good job keeping Esther under wraps alongside Buchanan.
CB: Kadeisha Buchanan – 7/10 – Popped up with a big block to keep out Weir in the first half and won plenty in the air.
LB: Magdalena Eriksson – 5/10 – Had a real scrap with Del Castillo, getting increasingly frustrated in the first half at the ease at which the Real winger hit the deck. Didn’t venture forward a great deal, and replaced by the more attack minded Charles at the break.
CM: Sophie Ingle – 7/10 – Got Reiten in behind with a fabulous lofted pass in the build up to Chelsea’s equaliser. One of the coolest heads in a sometimes erratic encounter.
CM: Erin Cuthbert – 6/10 – Struggled to stamp her authority on the game in the first half as possession constantly changed hands. An improved second half display, impressing with her ability to get the ball into the front three.
CM: Jessie Fleming – 4/10 – Struggled to get hold of the ball at times and make her mark on proceedings. Largely starved of service and on the fringes of the game, before being replaced at half time.
RW: Lauren James – 7/10 – Played Kerr in with an impeccably weighted pass in the first half, from which Chelsea should have scored. Flashes of quality with her superb feet, strength and intelligence.
ST: Sam Kerr – 5/10 – Cracked the bar inside two minutes from close range, hit the post when one v one on the half hour mark and denied by a Misa save in the dying stages – opportunities she would usually bury.
LW: Guro Reiten – 7/10 – Won the penalty from which Chelsea equalised. Cracked the post with her effort, which still went in via the head of Misa. Her delivery was on point as ever; played a superb teasing, looping ball across the face of goal, begging to be buried and picked out Kerr with a magnificent through ball in the latter stages.
SUB: Niamh Charles (46′ for Eriksson) – 7/10 – Made a real impact from the bench with her pace, athleticism and determination.
SUB: Fran Kirby (46′ for Fleming) – 6/10
SUB: Johanna Rytting Kaneryd (77′ for James) – 5/10