Emma Hayes livid as Chelsea 'robbed' by 'embarrassing' referee in Women's Champions League

  • Chelsea held to 2-2 draw by Real Madrid after questionable refereeing decisions
  • Niamh Charles goal ruled out for offside and Real Madrid awarded incorrect penalty
  • Hayes praised performance and control displayed by Chelsea away from home

Emma Hayes was not amused by the referee's performance in Madrid
Emma Hayes was not amused by the referee's performance in Madrid / Angel Martinez/GettyImages

Emma Hayes was adamant Chelsea had been "robbed" after they drew 2-2 with Real Madrid in their opening Women's Champions League group stage game.

The Blues were on the wrong end of two controversial refereeing decisions that saw Niamh Charles have a goal chalked off for a controversial offside and Real Madrid awarded a penalty despite Jessie Fleming's challenge on Athenea del Castillo appearing to take place yards outside of the box.

Chelsea had otherwise put in an assured performance away from home, scoring through left-back Charles and Sam Kerr, but Olga Carmona converted from the penalty spot to add to her 10th minute goal and rescue a point for Madrid.

There was no getting away from the decisions that impacted the result after the game, with Hayes aghast when speaking to reporters at how the officials - who did not have VAR in operation - had got things so wrong.

"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 assembled 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."

On Chelsea's disallowed goal, seemingly for interference by striker Sam Kerr, Hayes continued: "We score a really legitimate goal with Niamh Charles three or four yards onside.

Erin Cuthbert, Linda Caicedo
Erin Cuthbert gives chase to Linda Caicedo / Angel Martinez/GettyImages

"It is embarrassing. I had to check why it was disallowed. Was it Niamh? No. Was it Sam [Kerr] interfering with the goalkeeper? She was about seven yards away, no way near the keeper.

"I cannot understand the decision whatsoever. I think we've been robbed of what was a 3-1 game.

"You can't [ask the referee for clarity at full-time]. You're not allowed to speak to the officials. Can't speak to them there [on the pitch], can't speak about it here [to the media].

"For me I am going to focus on the performance, I can only control that. Everybody saw the decisions, you don't need me to comment on them any further."

Hayes' ambition is to lead Chelsea to Women's Champions League glory in what is to be her final season in west London - the 47-year-old has been appointed as the new United States women's national team coach and will take up her role at the end of the 2023/24 season.