Deportivo La Coruña Femenino, also known as Deportivo Abanca, travelled to Madrid on a four-match losing streak to start the season, having conceded 9 goals — the 3rd worst record in the league. With Madrid having won only one of their three games so far, this opponent provided the perfect opportunity to take all three points and move up the table. Though it wasn’t a flawless performance, Sofia Jakobsson and Kosovare Asllani delivered and scored once and twice, respectively, to secure the win.
- Deportivo La Coruña held a solid share of possession due to their desire to build from the back. Their center-backs, fullbacks, and one dropping CM (out of what looked like a 4-2-3-1) all looked to dribble past pressure and play the short pass but they faltered as soon as the progressive option had to be found. This gave Real Madrid a great opportunity to control the game through a high press, which was attempted consistently for about 10 minutes. The initial results were good, as Madrid completed some high dispossessions; the front four went player-to-player and Kaci or Teresa stepped up to negate the situational back three. However, Kaci and Teresa soon stopped making this movement (perhaps it was never the intended strategy and occurred organically), leaving Asllani and Jessica Martínez to deal with a 3v2. Both strikers were disciplined in shadowing the CM but neither made curved runs to block off the lane to the far side CB, making it far too easy for Depor to find the free player and advance. Thus, the press quickly died and Madrid receded into a mid-high block for the rest of the game.
- Though Las Blancas failed to implement an effective pressing scheme, Depor were mostly unable to get close to Madrid’s box, as they lacked the individual quality on the ball (bar former Tacón player Ainoa Campo) to make much of their numerical advantage. Even when they did, Ivana Andrés and Misa were on hand to extinguish the danger. Strangely, after doing all the work to get to the halfway line in a controlled manner, Depor often pumped lofted balls into the wings, creating a chaotic environment that produced transition after transition.
- It was here where Madrid won the game. Olga Carmona’s passing through the left channel was spot on the entire ninety minutes and she created an early 1v1 for Asllani that was botched. In the 27th minute, Depor gave the ball away facing a lone press from Jessica and Cardona slid in a neat throughball that Asllani did well to convert. Asllani got her second of the game from another Depor giveaway in their own half, missing the 1v1 before tapping in the rebound.
- Sofia Jakobsson curled in the opener after juking her way past two defenders in the box, but she had a mixed performance. She was caught offside far too often when running off-the-shoulder and would’ve liked to be more efficient on the counter-attack.
- Real Madrid’s possession game continues to look adequate if unspectacular. Thanks to the likes of Maite Oroz or Teresa Abelleira (the former didn’t play today), David Aznar’s team is able to cleanly circulate the ball out wide where the superior quality of Jakobsson and Cardona can dominate. But it would still be nice to see Asllani receive in positions between the lines so Las Blancas can start building a more diverse dynamic that will help them agains different kinds of opponents.
- The Olga Carmona left back experiment wasn’t exactly a roaring success. It’s true that she has played as a fullback before, but that was as a wingback, and it showed. She was excellent on the ball but her body positioning in defensive 1v1 duels was completely off and she might’ve been skinned more against a more capable attacking unit.
- Real Madrid move up to 5th place with this victory while Depor stay 2nd last in 17th.
More coverage will follow in the form of player ratings and a post-match podcast.