Emma Hayes was emphatic that Chelsea had been “cheated” following their 2-2 draw with Real Madrid in the opening match of the Women’s Champions League group stage.
The Blues fell victim to two contentious refereeing decisions, with Niamh Charles having a goal disallowed for a debatable offside, and Real Madrid being awarded a penalty despite Jessie Fleming’s challenge on Athenea del Castillo seemingly occurring well outside the penalty area.
Despite Chelsea’s solid away performance, which included goals from left-back Charles and Sam Kerr, Real Madrid’s Olga Carmona converted a penalty, adding to her 10th-minute goal and securing a draw.
Get Instantly Update By: Joining Our Whatapps and Telegram Channel
After the game, Hayes expressed her dismay to reporters, criticizing the officials who, without the aid of VAR, made critical errors.
“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,” Hayes told the press in Spain. “Of course, maybe Jessie shouldn’t lunge in that area, but it happens clearly outside the box. At this level, when you are in control of a game and important decisions like that go against you, it makes it difficult.”
Regarding Chelsea’s disallowed goal, seemingly for interference by striker Sam Kerr, Hayes added, “We scored a perfectly legitimate goal with Niamh Charles three or four yards onside.”
“It’s truly embarrassing. I had to investigate why the goal was disallowed. Was it Niamh? No. Was it Sam [Kerr] interfering with the goalkeeper? She was about seven yards away, nowhere near the keeper.
“I cannot comprehend the decision at all. I believe we’ve been deprived of what should have been a 3-1 victory.
“You can’t seek clarity from the referee at full-time. You’re not permitted to communicate with the officials. You can’t speak to them on the pitch, and you can’t discuss it with the media here.
“For me, I’m going to concentrate on the performance; that’s the only aspect I can control. Everyone witnessed the decisions; you don’t need me to elaborate on them any further.”
Hayes, in her final season with Chelsea, aspires to lead the team to Women’s Champions League glory. The 47-year-old has been appointed as the new coach for the United States women’s national team and will assume the role at the conclusion of the 2023/24 season.