Real Madrid Femenino lost 3-1 to FC Barcelona in the first Clásico of the season. It was a deserved defeat against a vastly superior opponent, but Madrid put up a huge fight in the second half and will come away from this loss with their heads held high.
Certain players stood out in Las Blancas’ attempted comeback, as outlined below (in addition to evaluations on the rest of their teammates’ performances):
GK: Misa — 8.5/10: Misa tends to find her best shot-stopping form whenever Real Madrid come up against La Blaugrana, which has helped keep the scoreline from getting embarrassing in the past. Today was no different, and her double save in the 8th minute before Lieke Martens eventually found the net is perhaps symbolic of the hellish difficulty of playing Barcelona.
RB: Lucía Rodríguez — 7/10: Trying to keep track of Fridolina Rolfö on the touchline AND Martens in the left channel is a nightmare. It’s hard to say that Lucía accomplished that task, but she did make a few excellent box interventions and was quality going forward, getting an assist in the second half via a glorious cross.
RCB: Rocío Gálvez — 5/10: Rocío suffered the most from Barcelona’s left-sided focus and the synergy between Rolfö, Lieke, and Mariona Caldentey. Induced by the Catalans’ masterful manipulation of the channels, Rocío was unable to keep up with Martens on the third goal and was probably the only one who could’ve tracked the cutback and the rebound to the same scorer for the opener. Rocío also lost out in a 1v1 duel against Irene Paredes on the second goal. However, it wasn’t all bad; Rocío executed a couple of solid defensive actions herself, keeping her rating from getting too low.
LCB: Ivana Andrés — 7/10: The continuation of Ivana Andrés at left center-back remains a baffling mystery, especially in light of the departure of David Aznar. It severely limits the value she adds as a progressive passer and carrier; her body orientation is awkward, directing all of her actions inside. Nevertheless, Ivana was still quite sharp defensively and did the majority of Madrid’s best dirty work inside and outside the area.
LB: Olga Carmona — 5.5/10: If Rocío didn’t have the toughest job on the night, then it was Olga who did. The latter had to go up against the greatest dribbler in the world in Caroline Graham Hansen while managing to impact the game offensively. Predictably, Carmona’s performance was very mixed, managing a handful of tackles and interceptions alongside a few decent lobbed passes while struggling to get forward and be stellar defensively. It’s a credit to her work ethic and skill that she wasn’t completely overwhelmed.
RCM: Aurélie Kaci — 6/10: Kaci was impressive with some of her rapid-fire passing and was quick to find runners further forward. She ran hard against the ball but was dragged out of position quite easily by Mariona’s deep movements.
LCM: Claudia Zornoza — 7.5/10: Zornoza carried Real Madrid’s press resistance and build-up. Some of her touches and passes out of pressure were downright outrageous, making this possibly her best on-ball performance of the season. Her hesitance to track runners into the channels prevents her rating from skyrocketing.
RW/LW: Athenea del Castillo — 7/10: Although Athenea was in and out of proceedings and had a tough time trying to stay positionally compact while helping out vs. Rolfö, she was a live wire whenever she could turn on the afterburners. The future is bright for the 21-year-old.
LW: Caroline Møller Hansen — 6/10: Møller had some positive moments facilitating combinations and playing through tight spaces, but ultimately didn’t offer enough out wide to move the needle that much.
RS: Kosovare Asllani — 8/10: Asllani was magnificent once again, receiving the ball under pressure with grace and strength and single-handedly manufacturing dangerous progressions for her team.
The Swede’s consolation goal in the 52nd minute summed up everything that is great about her; smart movement, close control, and link-up to get into Madrid into the final third, followed by a well-timed run into the box to catalyze the advantage.
Las Blancas needed her back so badly.
LS/LW: Esther González — 6.5/10: Esther had her moments on offense, trying to force combinations and make a menace of herself in the box, but she ultimately failed to leave a huge impression on that front. It was on the other end where she stood out, pressing and tracking back like an absolute monster.
RW: Marta Cardona — 4/10 (replaced Møller; 59’): Cardona is farther back on the recovery timeline than Asllani and it showed. None of her dribbles came off and she had little discernible influence on the game. Additionally, she completely whiffed an easy-ish volley on a set-piece. It will take a bit of time and patience before Real Madrid’s 20/21 MVP gets back to her very best, but it will be more than worth it.
RB: Kenti Robles — 6/10 (replaced Lucía; 72’): Kenti did a decent job defensively for 20 or so odd minutes. Didn’t have many chances to consistently threaten in attack.
RCM: Maite Oroz — 6/10 (replaced Kaci; 72’): Maite had a fairly normal game and helped Madrid’s press resistance a bit. Not much to comment here.
DM: Teresa Abelleira — 6.5/10 (replaced Asllani; 87’): Despite featuring for only 5 minutes, Teresa was extremely active defensively and deserves a positive rating for her impact.
ST: Nahikari García — N/A (replaced Athenea; 87’): Didn’t get involved enough to evaluate fairly.