After dropping points against Sevilla, Real Madrid Femenino looked to get their quest for Champions League qualification back on track. Acquiring the three points would not be easy, though, as Las Blancas came up against a fellow contender in Real Sociedad, who sat 7 points off of Madrid’s position coming into the Sunday clash.
David Aznar went with his usual eleven, bar Marta Corredera at left back (Olga Carmona was not included in the squad) and Thaisa in central midfield, with the more technically gifted Teresa Abelleira left on the bench.
Opposing coach Natalia Arroyo went with something interesting — a nominal 4-4-2/4-2-3-1 formation with striker Nahikari García coming in from the right.
Right from the off, Real Madrid pressed high and with intensity and even managed to score early on thanks to a beautiful long-range effort from Marta Cardona. But, soon enough, La Real began to figure out the contours of Madrid’s 4-4-2 pressing structure and adapted.
As is clear in the video, Maitane dropping into the pivot role was the key action that prompted a number of adjustments higher up the field. Once this occurred, Leire Baños would drop to fill the halfspace unoccupied by Gemma Gili, pinning Maite Oroz and Thaisa back. This ensured that Real Sociedad always had the 3v2 in build-up, something Aznar’s team could not cope with throughout the ninety minutes.
Eventually, Madrid almost seemed to give up and began to allow Maitane to receive freely.
When combined with the fluid positional interchanges between Nahikari and Sanni Fransi — both of whom also alternated as vertical outlets — Real Sociedad were able to dictate the entire game within their preferred contexts.
Real Madrid Femenino lost the battle for control thanks to their opponent’s press resistance and, consequently, lost the match.