The 2023/24 women’s European club campaign is underway. And one of the highlights of the opening match week of Champions League was Real Madrid vs Chelsea.
Both sides came into the European clash in top form. With only one loss between the two in their respective starts to their Women’s Super League and Liga F seasons, it was a battle of elite teams.
This game was of note to USA fans. Chelsea FC manager Emma Hayes will be finishing out the 2023/24 season with the Blues before becoming the next manager of the United States Women’s National Team. The six-time Women’s Super League winning – including the last four in a row – coach will be hoping to turn around a program that just logged its worst-ever performance at a World Cup this past summer.
Madrid got off to a fast start, grabbing the lead in the 10th minute when Olga Carmona scored on a superb shot from distance.
Chelsea dominates, but can’t capitalize on chances
But after that, it was all Chelsea and seemingly inevitable that the Blues would win this game. Chelsea carried 62% of the possession in the game and outshot Madrid 20-4. But a Niamh Charles goal in the 41st minute and a 1-1 scoreline was all they had to show for it through about 3/4 of the game.
Sam Kerr’s thundering header in the 74th minute looked like it could be the game-winner.
But just minutes later, the game turned on its head again. Madrid was awarded a penalty for a foul right at the edge of the box. Olga took a fantastic PK to tie the game 2-2. From then on it was again Chelsea who had the bulk of the chances.
This included what would have been the winner at the very death. Charles found herself on the end of a great cross, and slotted it home. But it was called off by the linesman for what only could have been an off-the-ball foul.
Between that ending and some missed opportunities, Chelsea will surely feel hard done with the result.
Chelsea will host Paris FC in their next Champions League, while Madrid travels away to BK Häcken, current group leaders, on November 23rd.
You can follow along with the game updates as they happened below.
ON SECOND THOUGHT
Remember when I said anything can happen?
It's a penalty for Madrid and Olga makes absolutely no mistake on the PK attempt! She fires home her second of the match and we're tied at 2-2!
To be fair to Chelsea the call on the foul was verrrrrry close in terms of where that contact was made. But the goal stands.
74' GOAL CHELSEA! RMCF 1-2 CFC
It's Sam Kerr!
A great quick build up from the Blues ends with Kerr smashing home a header from the top of the six yard box. Hard to see Madrid getting back into the this match with 15 minutes+ to go.
Crowd back into the game a bit with chants of "MADRID!" as the home side takes a corner.
It's a great little ground for the Madrid women, but they could do with a row or two of seats behind the goals for moments like this.
63' James on for Chelsea
England forward Lauren James now comes on for Chelsea, will she be involved in getting the Blues on top in this one?
60' SUB REAL MADRID
Zornoza out for Oroz, as Madrid makes the first change of the match.
51' SAVE Rodriguez
Kerr was in alone after a great run and through ball, but Rodriguez comes up with a clutch save to keep it level.
46' Second half underway
And we're back for the second frame of action in this one. Will either side be able to break the deadlock?
It certainly feels like Madrid will be hanging on to try and share the points with the way the majority of that first half went. But anything can happen!
Meanwhile in Amsterdam
At the Johan Cruyff Arena, Ajax have opened up a 2-0 lead over Paris Saint-Germain as that match heads into halftime as well.
HALFTIME: Real Madrid 1-1 Chelsea
All even here after 45', with Madrid surviving another late chance from Chelsea. Free kick just outside the box was blocked away, and the chance from the ensuing corner was calmly saved.
Should be a good second half of action coming up!
42' GOAL CHELSEA! 1-1!
Charles gets her first European goal on a perfectly executed cross and free header! Chelsea now finally level after really controlling the match after the Madrid goal.
Scenes from Madrid
Elation for the home team after that opening strike early in the match:
Photo: Imago / PA Images
Around the UWCL
In Group D, where these two sides sit, BK Häcken defeated Paris FC 2-1.
Meanwhile Barcelona, Frankfurt, Lyon, and Brann came away with wins (5-0 and 9-0 in the case of Barça and Lyon). Bayern drew with Roma, while right now Ajax and PSG are level at 0-0.
29' Kerr denied
Sam Kerr with a close-range effort that's pushed aside at the near post to keep things 1-0 in favor of Madrid
21' Chance for Chelsea
A nice little bit of skill with a cross and then a dummy from Kerr, but nobody there to finish for the Blues. Still 1-0 to the home side.
10' GOAL!! 1-0 Madrid!
A fantastic hit by Olga from about 25 yards that took a bit of a deflection, not much the keeper could have done there. Madrid have the early lead!
0' And we're underway!
Kickoff under clear skies in Madrid!
Almost game time!
Just about time to kick things off as the teams are entering the field at Alfredo Di Stéfano Stadium in Madrid!
Chelsea carrying the flag
Chelsea are the lone English side competing in this year's UWCL group stage.
The Blues were runners-up in 2021, and will be hoping to join the 2007 Arsenal side who to date are the only English winners of the tournament.
Madrid would similarly be first-time winners of the tournament, and the second club from their home nation to win the UCWL (the other is Barcelona in 2021 and 2023)
An elite clash
Today's game is a battle between two of the sharpest sides in Europe.
In the FA Women's Super League, Chelsea currently sit in first place on 16 points and a nearly perfect 5-1-0 unbeaten record.
Meanwhile, over in Spain Real Madrid find themselves second in Liga F, having posted a 7-0-1 mark and 21 points, behind only El Clásico rivals Barcelona who are 3 points ahead.
UWCL rematch from 2022/23
These two sides were grouped together in last season's Champions League as well.
Chelsea went on to win Group A, defeating Madrid 2-0 at home at Kingsmeadow, and drawing 1-1 in the return fixture in Spain. Real Madrid finished in third place, missing out on the knockout rounds.
Lineups are out!
Here's how Real Madrid and Chelsea will hit the pitch in today's clash:
200+ Channels With Sports & News
- Starting price: $33/mo. for fubo Latino Package
- Watch Premier League, Women’s World Cup, Euro 2024 & Gold Cup
The New Home of MLS
- Price: $14.99/mo. for MLS Season Pass
- Watch every MLS game including playoffs & Leagues Cup
Many Sports & ESPN Originals
- Price: $10.99/mo. (or get ESPN+, Hulu & Disney+ for $14.99/mo.)
- Features Bundesliga, LaLiga, Championship, & FA Cup
2,000+ soccer games per year
- Price: $5.99/mo
- Features Champions League, Serie A, Europa League & Brasileirāo