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Immediate Reaction: Real Madrid Femenino 1 - 1 Sporting Huelva

A chaotic game leads to numerous opportunities for both sides to take the three points.

@realmadridfem

Real Madrid Femenino failed to crystallize their advantage in third place in the Primera Iberdrola standings by recording a 1-1 draw with Sporting Huelva. Below are my immediate thoughts on the high-octane affair. Player ratings and post-match podcast to follow.

  • David Aznar went with almost the same lineup last time out vs. Madrid CFF, only swapping out captain Ivana Andrés for Claudia Florentino at the back. Sofia Jakobsson played up top ahead of Kosovare Asllani in a 4-2-3-1, with Marta Corredera again starting as a left-winger. An oft-stated issue with the double pivot in the context of Aznar’s tactics (or lack thereof) is a lack of control against any team that presses. While Sporting Huelva were cautious not to commit player-to-player with their midfield — instead, choosing to use one of the front two to shadow Maite Oroz — they harassed Madrid’s center-backs from a high line of engagement and forced Claudia Florentino into a number of uncharacteristic giveaways.
  • As Las Blancas sought to progress through balls into the channels, risky vertical passes, or counter-attacks, the game predictably devolved into a track meet. It would be fruitless to try to describe or post the highlights of all the shots and attacks that occurred in that first half. Needless to say, both sides had plenty thanks to the chaotic end-to-end environment. Sporting Huelva should’ve been 1-0 up when they won a penalty after coaxing Misa off of her line and winning a foul, though the infraction looked like it occurred just outside the box. The resulting shot hit the post. Ball don’t lie.
  • Misa was incredible other than this mistake, making countless 1v1 saves and cutting out attacks before they manifested into chances numerous other times. Her quality in goal (and out of it) helped keep the scoreline at 0-0 before Madrid finally made one of their chances pay on the other end.
  • The 2nd half was much the same but with rapidly decreasing intensity. This allowed Madrid a modicum of control over proceedings, though channel balls were still frequent and Sporting had a not insignificant number of transition opportunities (Mayra Ramírez, in particular, was absolutely spectacular on the break). Madrid had the better of it on the chance creation front for the first 20 minutes or so, making it feel like the 2-0 was a matter of if not when.
  • But Sporting Huelva kept plugging away and finally made one of their opportunities pay.
  • Aznar brought off Maite for Teresa Abelleira in the 80th and Jessica Martínez for Corredera four minutes later, keeping the 4-2-3-1 but shifting Sofia out to the left.
  • Las Blancas got a deep free-kick at the death, allowing Asllani to control in the box and get a shot off. Her effort was deflected wide, leading to a corner, which led to another, and another for the last action of the game, with Sporting stuffing them all to split the points.