Real Madrid Femenino’s 2-0 win over crosstown rivals Madrid CFF was one of those feel good victories where pretty much everyone wearing the all white put in a good performance. Despite this, two players stood out as candidates for player of the match: Sofia Jakobsson, who scored and assisted, and Olga Carmona, who was everywhere on the pitch, making goal line clearances and delivering inch-perfect crosses.
Because of these performances, others were glossed over as Madridistas celebrated the first Blancas victory of 2021. One of the performances that hasn’t gotten enough credit is Teresa Abelleira’s. Not only did she put in an influential midfield performance, but Teresa has seemingly added a new facet to her game (or at least has become more comfortable in it) by influencing the final third.
Real Madrid can be rightfully criticized for not creating enough chances throughout a match. This wasn’t the case against Madrid CFF for one of the few times this season. There are a lot of factors that contribute to chance creation and when the entire team is playing well chances are far more likely to manifest. But Teresa’s ability to get into the final third definitely multiplied the opportunities Las Blancas carved out.
Real Madrid Femenino pressed high up the pitch for the majority of the first half, pinning Madrid CFF in their own half and complicating their build-up. In the first 15 minutes, Maite Oroz formed passing triangles on the left with Jakobsson and Olga Carmona. Teresa and the center backs were responsible for recovering the ball when it was lost and Teresa served as the fulcrum that switched the point of attack from side to side.
As the half wore on, Oroz dropped to her normal position as the single pivot and Kaci and Teresa served as the left and right sided midfielders. This is when we saw Teresa start getting involved in the final third. Around the seventh minute, Teresa followed Asllani from a distance in the box. As the Swede sped up, Teresa slowed down and checked her run. Abelliera wasn’t found and moved again to find space. Though she didn’t receive the ball at any point in the play, Teresa moved to exploitable areas in and around the top of the box, forcing defenders to react to her and leave more room for other attackers.
Teresa continued to make intelligent movements into the box and re-routed her runs in response to the movements of her teammates before slowing or dropping to create separation from her defender.
The Galician midfielder popped up various times just on top of the 18-yard box and shot at goal. In the 24th minute, Jakobsson cut inside and passed to Teresa. The Spaniard set herself up with a delicate first touch and unleashed a rocket at goal that went just wide. Teresa tested the keeper from similar positions two more times throughout the match.
She also created danger in the final third outside of her shooting. Teresa would receive the ball with her back to goal and hold off her defender before getting other Real Madrid attackers involved. She also showed off her dribbling ability and quick passing in tight spaces, beating defenders like they were training cones.
Furthermore, she drove into the final third and played penetrative passes into space. The midfielder would elegantly dance through the Madrid CFF defense before playing a pass to one of the wingers or wing-backs, finding them in dangerous 1v1 situations.
Usually, Madridistas call for Teresa to start because of her ability on the ball and her press resistance. Against Madrid CFF, she strengthened her case by displaying a more varied skillset. Teresa’s recognition of space and how she can create it for herself and her teammates around the 18-yard box is something that sets her apart from the other midfielders at Real Madrid. She also has a potent shot and killer final pass. If Las Blancas continue to get Teresa in advanced positions, it will not only help create more chances for the likes of Jakobsson, Asllani, and Cardona, but will cause Teresa to start finding the back of the net as well.