Chelsea will have to wait to confirm their place in the quarter-finals of the Women’s Champions League after being held at Real Madrid.
Victory would have seen Emma Hayes’ side qualify with two games to play.
However, they fell behind Caroline Weir’s first-half goal after goalkeeper Ann-Katrin Berger’s error.
Chelsea equalized in the second half when Guro Reiten’s penalty hit the post, bounced off Madrid goalkeeper Misa and went in.
The Blues will reach the quarter-finals if they win against Albanian side Vllaznia on December 16.
Chelsea have 10 points from four games in Group A, five ahead of third-placed Madrid on a much better goal difference.
They will also relish their chances of winning in Albania, against a Vllaznia side who are yet to score or score, have conceded 19 times and were beaten 4-0 by Paris St-Germain earlier on Thursday.
Unusual Berger mistake costs Chelsea
Chelsea came into this game with a perfect group stage record, including a 2-0 win over Madrid at Kingsmeadow two weeks ago. Another win here would have seen them overtake their disappointing 2021 campaign where they failed to break out of the group.
While much of the attention on Chelsea goes to their star-studded front line, goalkeeper Berger has been equally crucial to their solid European form, not conceding a goal in the 2022-23 Champions League until now. evening.
The German may have been unsettled by the treatment she needed for her foot minutes before Madrid’s opener, seemingly backed up as she clumsily passed while diving for a long-range shot from Olga Carmona who flew right by.
Whatever the reason, it was an unusual mistake by Berger as she attempted to pass the ball through midfield but found ex-Manchester City midfielder Weir instead. who gratefully accepted the gift and ducked into the empty net 22 yards out.
It was Weir’s second time finding the net against a Women’s Super League side after leaving City in the summer, having scored the only goal to knock out his former Champions League side in qualifying.
Chelsea were sloppy in midfield and while they dominated possession, 61% in the first 70 minutes, often gave the ball away in good positions.
They lost the ball just outside their own box with 10 minutes remaining, leaving Carmona to break through – only for Berger to make a fine save, a timely reminder of his importance and ability.
The Blues are lucky with a bizarre penalty
Chelsea manager Hayes described the win over Madrid two weeks ago as a ‘suspicious affair’ – there was no such caution here as the Blues hit the woodwork three times, the last falling in their favor.
They should have been leading within two minutes when an Erin Cuthbert header from a corner was saved by Misa and fell on Sam Kerr who hit the ball off the crossbar when she should have scored.
It was a night off for Kerr, who fended off an equally clear opening half an hour later. The Australian was put one-on-one against Misa by Lauren James, but fired her shot outside the right post.
Instead, it took a huge stroke of luck for Chelsea to equalise, after Ivana Andres clumsily knocked Reiten down in the box.
The Norwegian took the kick which hit the keeper’s right post – only to deflect Misa’s back and roll excruciatingly down the line.
Kerr could have won for Chelsea in the dying minutes – and put her side through to the quarter-finals – but was again denied one-on-one by a superb save from Misa.
The 2021 runners-up are expected to make amends this season for their group stage elimination in 2021-22, but that should count as a wake-up call.