Women's Champions League roundup: Hayes' Chelsea held by Madrid, Ajax top PSG
EPL

Women's Champions League roundup: Hayes' Chelsea held by Madrid, Ajax top PSG

Nov 24, 2023

Emma Hayes’ Chelsea were held to a controversial draw at Real Madrid on Wednesday, the day after she was announced as the new coach of the US women’s national team, as Ajax saw off Paris Saint-Germain 2-0 in the Women’s Champions League.

When she takes over the USWNT, Hayes will become the highest paid coach in the women’s game and her Chelsea side looked impressive as they drew 2-2 away to the Liga F runners-up.

A controversial late penalty brought the hosts level and a winner in injury-time for Chelsea was chalked off.

“I thought we dominated the game. 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,” said Hayes.

“It is embarrassing. I had to check why it was disallowed… I cannot understand the decision whatsoever.”

The home side got off to a flyer 10 minutes in when Olga Carmona, the scorer of the only goal in the World Cup final, shot from distance and a wicked deflection off Millie Bright wrong-footed the ‘keeper.

Despite this start, Chelsea began regularly to cause a threat with their wide play and eventually the pressure cost Madrid four minutes before the break.

Ashley Lawrence crossed from the right and Niamh Charles was unmarked to head in from the edge of the six-yard box to level matters.

In the second half it was again the wide areas where Chelsea found joy, as Charles turned provider and stood a cross up for Sam Kerr to head the English champions into the lead with 16 minutes remaining.

But just five minutes later, Carmona rifled home an equalising penalty, which was awarded after a clumsy tackle by Jessie Fleming that looked to be just outside the box.

Misa Rodriguez then came to Real’s rescue when she plunged to her left to deny a fine volleyed effort from 20 yards by Johanna Rytting Kaneryd.

Lauren James rattled the crossbar with two minutes remaining on the clock and Kerr broke free before overrunning the ball at the crucial moment as an entertaining match came to an end all square.

The end did not come before more controversy, however, as Charles looked to have nabbed all three points for Chelsea with nearly the last kick of the match only for the goal to be disallowed.

Replays showed her to be well onside, leaving coach Hayes seething with the match officials.

Elsewhere in Group D, goals either side of half-time from Rosa Kafaji and Anna Sandberg ensured a 2-1 win for Haecken at Paris FC.

Julie Dufour converted a penalty three minutes after Haecken’s second to halve the deficit but with half an hour remaining the French side were unable to break down the visitors.

Ajax down PSG

Ajax laid down a statement in Amsterdam by beating PSG through first-half goals from Tiny Hoekstra and Sherida Spitse.

With 34 minutes on the clock, Ajax got their first courtesy of Hoekstra’s acute finish after Sakina Karchaoui had blocked Nadine Noordam’s initial effort.

The hosts looked to be heading into the break just a goal up until Clare Hunt took down Ashleigh Weerden and Spitse made no mistake from the spot one minute into added time.

Ajax had chances to wrap the match up in the second half, with a fine intervention by Jade Le Guilly denying Hoekstra a second when she looked sure to score, however the hosts did not need them in the end as they ran out convincing winners.

The first game Group C ended in a dramatic 2-2 draw between Bayern and Roma, thanks to a last-minute equaliser by Manuela Giugliano.

A 20th-minute strike by Jovana Damnjanovic and an own goal by Elena Linari four minutes into first-half added-time had the Germans cruising at the break.

But the Italian champions fought back in the second half through Evelyne Viens’ goal just before the hour mark and then Giugliano struck in the 90th minute to ensure the spoils would be shared.

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