Real Madrid came up against Sporting Huelva in their last test of 2021 and managed to collect all three points thanks to goals from Esther, Nahikari, and Athenea inside 11 mins. Las Blancas go into the winter break in sixth position — 5 points behind Atletico Madrid in third.
Toril decided to maintain the 3-4-1-2/3-5-2 formation from last game, with Nahikari and Esther forming the front two. Maite was stationed high up in the attacking midfield role. Madrid sought to build out from goal kicks using a line of four, with Ivana almost acting like an LB and Babett stretched to the right — almost in the same vertical line as Kenti. This didn’t particularly help Madrid, as Babett found it hard to receive and turn forwards and the two CBs stretching so wide left a lot of vacant space. Without the ball Madrid restructured in a 4-4-2, with Maite acting as the RM.
Here are the player ratings from the game.
GK: Misa — 7/10
Misa wasn’t tested regularly but made some flying saves on shots from distance. Once again nonchalantly pulled off a chest save in the dying mins.
RCB: Babett Peter — 6/10
Babett was again positioned at RCB in the back 3 and struggled quite a bit in possession. Receiving the ball onto her weaker right foot meant she found it hard to progress the ball forwards. There were plenty of hopeful long balls over the top which resulted in turnovers frequently. Things improved in the second half with a slight restructuring of the team’s shape during build-up. Had a good attacking header in the 48th min.
CB: Rocío Gálvez — 6/10
Rocio as the middle CB often found herself with a lot of space to cover. She often got beaten in duels and didn’t look convincing on the ball.
LCB: Ivana Andres — 6/10
Ivana didn’t have her best of games positioned as the LCB. She almost acted as a LB during our build-up phase and she had some sloppy moments with her touches and her ball carrying, resulting in a turnovers. She also struggled a bit with her aggressive defending.
RWB: Kenti Robles — 6.5/10
Kenti was initially stationed pretty high up the pitch and asked to make runs in behind, which were never really found. Later, she moved slightly deeper to pick up the ball and was good with her crossing and runs in attack. Her passing was slightly off.
LWB: Athenea del Castillo — 8.5/10
Another game, another absolute masterclass from Athenea, who is coming into her own. She topped a brilliant game with another GOLAZO while also attempting to replicate her screamer from last weekend. She was a menace with her dribbling and was one of our primary avenues of progression in the final third.
CM: Kaci — 7/10
Kaci improved as the game went on and helped us really well on either ends of the pitch with her ground coverage. She looked shaky on the ball in the first half but improved in that aspect in the second.
CM: Claudia Zornoza — 7/10
Zornoza picked up an assist for Nahikari’s goal after making a trailing run into the box and executing some really neat touches. Apart from that she had a decent game.
CAM: Maite Oroz — 8/10
Maite reprised the #10 role again and was fantastic. Her ability to receive the ball on the half-turn under pressure is brilliant and her passing was incisive. She was popping up in all the right areas and making those runs into the left channel very frequently; she even had a direct free-kick attempt at goal that was saved.
CF: Nahikari García — 7/10
Nahikari had flashes in the first half but it wasn’t convincing until the second period, where she got more involved and ended up scoring a goal off of a Zornoza assist. The goal should help her build some momentum from here on — one would hope.
CF: Esther González — 8/10
Esther continued to grab goals as she scored the opener and assisted the second goal for Nahikari. In the first half she was the only player who was able to muster any chances, mostly down to her individual ability. She was great at dropping and receiving to then carry the ball forwards and created the second goal in a similar fashion.
RWB/RM: Marta Cardona — 6.5/10 (replaced Zornoza; 66’)
Cardona managed to get some more minutes under her belt and looked slightly better in moments. Her touches were still sloppy and her dribble attempts didn’t come off often but there were flashes of her pre-injury self when she successfully beat players.
CM: Teresa Abelleira — 7.5/10 (replaced Esther; 66’)
Teresa’s introduction helped Real Madrid control the game much better. Her passing was good and she brought a sense of calm in possession. She added some steel defensively as well.
CAM: Lorena Navarro — 7/10 (replaced Maite Oroz; 74’)
Lorena came on and continued in a similar vein as Maite, shuttling across and playing a dynamic role. Her passes were crisp and she linked up pretty well.
LB: Lucía Rodríguez — NA (replaced Babett; 83’)
Had a good moment where she carried the ball and it resulted in an opportunity for Madrid.
ST: Carla Camacho — NA (replaced Nahikari; 83’)
16 year-old Carla Camacho, who has been sensational for the youth teams, was given some minutes on the field.