Emma Hayes: Chelsea 'robbed' by 'worst decision in Women’s Champions League history'

 (Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

Emma Hayes branded Kadeisha Buchanan’s sending off “the worst decision in UEFA Women’s Champions League history” after Chelsea’s semi-final loss to Barcelona.

Buchanan was dismissed after two yellow cards in four minutes in the second half at Stamford Bridge, as Chelsea let a 1-0 first-leg advantage slip in a 2-0 second-leg loss.

Aitana Bonmati’s deflected goal and Fridolina Rolfo’s penalty dumped Chelsea out of the competition – leaving Hayes’ Champions League dream unfulfilled after 12 years with the Blues.

A furious Hayes questioned UEFA’s appointment of Romanian referee Iuliana Demetrescu, even claiming Barcelona’s players admitted they had been given help by the officials in their victory.

“When you get such a shocking official’s decision there’s nothing you can do about it,” said a devastated Hayes. “It’s hard enough against 11 but when it’s against 10 it’s almost impossible.

“I didn’t even think it was a foul, let alone a yellow card, for the second one. Everyone knows that, even the Barcelona players said to us that they knew the referee was helpful to them.

“For us we felt we didn’t even get the opportunity to lose this match.”

She added: “I was surprised when I saw her selected, she’s famous for easy cards.

“I think this is the worst decision in UEFA Women’s Champions League history. The official has made a horrific decision, so we can’t talk about anything else. I’m gutted for the players, we were robbed.”

Sjoeke Nusken struck a post for Chelsea after the break, but then Buchanan was dismissed – and Hayes felt that completely changed the contest.

“We’d hit the post, the momentum going in that direction, but we didn’t have the chance to experience that properly,” she said. “You need everything to go your way, but two yellow cards, a deflection for their first goal and a penalty: everything went their way and nothing went our way today.”

Hayes’ trophy-laden stint at Chelsea, where she transformed the women’s team’s fortunes, will now come to a close without that elusive Champions League title.

Barcelona, including England star Lucy Bronze, will move on and try to defend their title.

Hayes will know her comments will land her in hot water, but her calm and composed manner in delivering such excoriating criticism means she will not care.

“I think the toughest thing to take is that we didn’t lose it,” said Hayes. “There’s nothing you can do when there’s such a terrible decision and it’s already hard enough.

“They are a top team and when that’s taken out of your hands that’s tough for the players for sure.

“I thought the penalty was equally soft but she’s an amazing player, Bonmati, she leaves her leg there, it’s clever. They’ve had no big chances all evening.”