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Immediate Reaction: Deportivo Abanca 0 - 2 Real Madrid Femenino

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Marta Cardona scores a wonder goal to wake Las Blancas from their slumber.

Real Madrid v Levante - Primera Iberdrola Photo by Diego Souto/Quality Sport Images/Getty Images

Real Madrid Femenino defeated Deportivo Abanca 2-0 in what was far from a routine exercise. Below are my immediate thoughts on what transpired. Player ratings and post-match podcast to follow.

  • Every once in awhile the big fish finds its way to a small pond and just assumes that dominance over this weakly-guarded territory is theirs. The big fish gets complacent, lazily floating around and periodically falling asleep, while the small fry gather and launch a coordinated attack. The big fish is taken by surprise — stunned enough not to make adequate use of its key physical weapons. All of a sudden, this contest over this small area in a seemingly small place is hard-fought and even. The big fish better wake up or it might lose, forced to retreat back to the big blue ocean with its tail tucked between its future, land-destined legs.
  • That NatGeo description might as well have been the official commentary for the first half of Real Madrid Femenino-Deportivo Abanca. Las Blancas looked barely in it, misplacing basic passes, coughing up the ball uncharacteristically in deeper areas, and launching it long when a simple short pass would do. On the other hand, Depor came out with a periodic press and attacking intent, managing to slip in a dangerous pass for Alba Merino before picking Maite Oroz’s pocket and getting off an early shot.
  • Real Madrid still showed flashes of danger, as Jessica Martínez put a header on goal from a good shot location following a Kenti Robles cross in the 20th minute, but the All Whites didn’t see another decent chance until the 43rd. Corredera finally got one of her forward passes right and found Sofia Jakobsson charging forward. The Swede played it across to Marta Cardona, who cut it back for the Aurélie Kaci shot.
  • Corredera had a rough game (to put it delicately) up until that point, but seemed to find some confidence after her successful through ball. She led the last action of the half, gliding inside past three players before placing her shot wide well wide of goal.
  • As per, Aznar made an interesting sub before the restart, bringing on LB/LW Olga Carmona for Jessica. Jakobsson moved into the nominal center forward position while Olga took up the vacated spot on the left. The introduction of the young Spaniard’s quality made an immediate impact, as she served up an assist in the 51st minute. But the headlines must go to Marta Cardona, who lost her fucking mind and scored off of a crazy backheel finish. What did I just witness.
  • Another angle:
  • And another one:
  • Real Madrid had more control and increased openings in transition following the goal, as Depor pushed forward, but the overall quality of play did not dramatically improve. The lack of a true focal point up front made it difficult to keep the opposition center-backs in check and even harder to get anything going through the middle. For a team that is already heavily flank-oriented, Madrid’s approach play became even more predictable.
  • Nevertheless, Madrid’s individual quality told a second time and Sofia Jakobsson sealed the deal on the counter-attack: