Real Madrid Femenino avenged their derby defeat from earlier in the season with a 1-0 win of their own at the Centro Deportivo Wanda Alcalá de Henares. This critical victory helps Real maintain their position in third place, widening the gap between them and their city rivals to 6 points, while inching Las Blancas closer to second-placed Levante, who drew their last game.
Below are my immediate thoughts. Player ratings and post-match pod to follow:
- Despite releasing a full squad list, Real Madrid left out Babett Peter and Kosovare Asllani due to injury and replaced them with Claudia Florentino and Jessica Martínez, respectively. Everything else looked normal from Las Blancas’ end, as David Aznar deployed his girls in a 4-3-3, looked to press high, and attempted to establish some level of control over the game.
- It was Atlético Madrid that had the more interesting look, with Amando Sampedro and Deyna Castellanos often appearing like two roaming #10’s. However, it soon became clear that Sampedro was playing off the left from a nominal 4-2-3-1 shape, coming inside liberally while Deyna and Ludmila adjusted around her. Despite Sampedro’s narrow positioning, left back Merel van Dongen also stayed inward, often creating a situational back three in build-up and rarely charging forward on the overlap.
- Just as all the patterns were starting to set into place, the game changed dramatically. The devilishly quick Ludmila was released on the counter, prompting Olga Carmona to bring her down. The referee produced a straight red for the last player challenge and David Aznar reacted by bringing off Maite Oroz for fullback Marta Corredera.
- Because we can’t have a
derbyPrimera Iberdrola game without controversy, Jessica Martínez was fouled in a similar sort of situation — the only differences being the distance to goal and that another defender in Aïssatou Tounkara was nearby. Regardless of the reasoning, only a yellow card was brandished in front of Laia Alexandri, sending the All White into hysterics and resulting in a yellow for Jessica herself.
- Aside from the cards, little else happened in the first half that would make a highlight reel. Atlético Madrid failed to really extend themselves (for example, van Dongen stayed narrow and conservative-minded) like vs. 10-women Chelsea (a game Las Colchoneras lost) and didn’t get a single decent shot on goal. Real, for their part, kept their shape and pressed hard in their own half to reduce Atléti’s time to make the decisive pass, though the home side can be guilty of offering little to break down deep blocks.
- Coach José Luis Sánchez Vera reacted to this by bringing off Tounkara for the offensive-minded Kylie Strom and Sampedro for Emelyne Laurent; van Dongen moved to left center-back. The changes had some effect, with Strom getting forward far more frequently and putting some crosses into the box. In the 51st minute, Laurent cut inside and forced Misa into a great save.
- However, aside from that and one dangerous throughball and one threatening cross, Atléti’s play remained laborious. Sánchez Vera felt compelled to shake things up again in the 65th minute, replacing central midfielder Silvia Meseguer with Claudia Iglesias and right winger Ajara Nchout with Rasheedat Ajidbade.
- Whether these adjustments would’ve had their intended effect or not was soon consigned to history, as Sofia Jakobsson scored in a transition moment 3 minutes later thanks to a slick through ball from Teresa Abelleira.
- Looking to secure the lead, Aznar took off his assister for Thaisa in the 74th, though little did he know that Atléti were about to self-destruct. Deyna, who had picked up a yellow only a few hundred seconds earlier, earned her second with a reckless sliding challenge on Misa.
- Just before, Sánchez Vera had made his final substitution — and by far his most offensive one — putting on attacker Turid Knaak for right back Grace Ntambwe. Aznar did a similar thing in the 85th minute, subbing on striker Lorena Navarro for the injured central defender Claudio Florentino.
- There were a few scary balls into the box and moments for Misa to handle, but the game largely ended without incident, allowing Real Madrid Femenino to win their first ever Derbi Madrileño.