During Chelsea’s Women’s Champions League quarter-final win over Lyon, football fans observed the use of an uncommon rule.
In the dying moments of extra time at Stamford Bridge, Maren Mjelde scored a decisive penalty to force the match to a penalty shootout.
A VAR review resulted in Chelsea receiving the late penalty kick after Ivana Martincic, the referee, ruled that Vicky Becho had committed a foul on Lauren James in the box, giving Mjelde the chance to keep the Blues’ Champions League aspirations alive.
The captain of Norway’s national team, Maren Mjelde, confidently took the penalty kick and blasted it into the top corner of the net, leaving the opposing goalkeeper, Christiane Endler, with no opportunity to make a save.
The shot was executed flawlessly, and it ensured Chelsea’s advancement to the next round of the Women’s Champions League.
— Jonathan Easton (@eastjoneast) March 30, 2023
Last kick of the game Equaliser.
— Gibbons on Film (@AGibbonist) March 30, 2023
As Mjelde readied herself to take the penalty kick, the referee signaled for all players to vacate the penalty area, which left football fans bewildered and perplexed.
This wasn’t a penalty shootout, so some wondered if Martincic had made a mistake.
Why did the ref wave all the players away from the penalty?
As it turns out, Ivana Martincic had not made an error in her decision-making.
The match official was simply following the rules correctly.
Tactics writer Michael Cox highlighted on Twitter that Martincic was adhering to the regulation that permits “additional time to be allowed for a penalty kick to be taken.”
This rule meant that unlike other penalties taken during a non-penalty shootout situation, no rebounds were permitted.
In response to someone asking why no players were around the ‘D’, Cox added: “… effectively time was up as soon as penalty was scored / saved / missed.”
The penalty taker and the goalkeeper are the only players allowed to touch the ball in live play before the full-time whistle is blown.
Initially, only two minutes of stoppage time were added. However, due to the extensive VAR review, Mjelde did not take her penalty until the eighth minute of stoppage time.
As a result, the referee had to confirm that this would be the final kick of extra time.
Mjelde’s successful penalty kick leveled the match and forced it into extra time, and it was ultimately Chelsea who triumphed, securing their place in the Champions League semifinals with a 4-3 win.
Emma Hayes: Mjelde is a Chelsea legend
“I’m just relieved it’s over and we’re through that,” Chelsea boss Emma Hayes told reporters, per theEvening Standard.
“Players have had to come into the game and play multiple roles.
“For Maren to do what she did, she’s a Chelsea legend.”
Following their win over Lyon, Chelsea booked a spot in the semifinals where they will face the Catalan powerhouse Barcelona.
The winner of this highly-anticipated matchup will advance to the final, where they will meet either Wolfsburg or Arsenal.
The final is scheduled to take place on June 3 at the Philips Stadion in Eindhoven.