- A rare football rule was used during Chelsea's Women's Champions League game vs Lyon on Thursday night
- Chelsea were awarded a penalty but the referee did not allow any other player near the box, much to the confusion of fans
- Maren Mjelde scored the penalty before scoring another one in the shootouts as Chelsea progressed
Now, it doesn't matter whether you have watched football long enough or not, but I bet you do know that whenever a penalty kick is awarded during normal time, other players are allowed to mill around the box to pounce on the rebound.
But during the post-match penalty shootouts, it is only the taker, the goalkeeper and referee who are allowed near the box.
However, fans were taken aback during Chelsea Women's game against Lyon Women's on March 30th at Stamford Bridge when the penalty rules were seemingly reversed.
Chelsea were on the brink of elimination after going 2-0 down on the night and 2-1 on aggregate in the Champions League quarter-finals. But they were handed a lifeline deep into stoppage time of extra time when Lauren James was hauled own in the area.
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Chelsea's last-minute penalty
After a VAR review, centre referee Ivana Martincic handed Chelsea the penalty, with Maren Mjelde stepping up. The mission was simple; score and keep Chelsea in the tie or miss and Emma Hayes will have to postpone her Champions League dream again.
Given that it was still regulation time, fans expected other players to be around the area to be ready for any rebound. However, Martincic sent away the players, as is the norm in real penalty shootouts.
Why? You wonder.
Why no one was allowed in the penalty area
The referee did not make a mistake. As tactics expert Michael Cox aptly points out, the Laws of the Game envisaged the prospect of a penalty being awarded after regulation time plus stoppage time had ended.
This meant that Mjelde's penalty was actually taken on borrowed time and once she scored it or missed it, the game was effectively over and thus no time for rebounds. It was literally the last shot of that game at 120 minutes plus 8.
Luckily for the Stamford Bridge crowd, the Norway captain exhibited ice-cold veins to dispatch the shot past Christiane Endler to force the game to shoot outs.
She once again stepped up and took the first penalty as Chelsea eliminated the eight-time European champions. Talk of nerves of steel!
Chelsea goalkeeper helps team amid cancer struggles
That wasn't the only major storyline of the night. Sports Brief reported that seven months ago, Chelsea Women's goalkeeper, Ann-Katrin Berger revealed that the thyroid cancer she was first diagnosed with in 2017 had resurfaced.
She underwent treatment with the full support of the club and her partner, Jess Carter, who is also her teammate at Chelsea.
Berger saved two penalty kicks in the shootouts to help Chelsea book a semifinal spot where they will play against Barcelona.