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Immediate Reaction: Santa Teresa CD 1 - 5 Real Madrid Femenino

Las Blancas blow away their opponents with a magnificent first half display.

@realmadridfem

Real Madrid Femenino cruised past Santa Teresa CD, winning 5-1 away from home to stay in second place going into the final matchday of the season. Below are my immediate thoughts. Player ratings and post-match podcast to follow.

  • David Aznar rotated a little bit for the away trip to Santa Teresa: Lorena Navarro replaced Sofia Jakobsson out on the left; an extra central midfielder was sacrificed so Jessica Martínez could play up top; and Samara Ortíz Cruz operated as a right back over Kenti Robles in a nominal 4-2-3-1 shape. However, it became quite clear that Madrid had multiple options through the center very early on, as Lorena roamed inside, pairing up with the #10 Kosovare Asllani to overload Santa Teresa’s single pivot (they defended in a 4-1-4-1). This provided multiple options between the lines, better angles for progression, and attracted the defensive attention to free up left back Olga Carmona.
  • In addition to the beneficial offensive structure thanks to Lorena, a number of Madrid’s individuals were on fire — notably, season-MVP Marta Cardona.
  • She was there to switch play and spark a second goal only a few minutes later, giving Las Blancas a decisive advantage and completely breaking the opposition’s spirit.
  • Then, she scored again, heading a Teresa Abelleira pass to make it 3-0 (yes, she was onside).
  • Cardona nearly got her hat-trick in the 26th minute:
  • Madrid picked up their fourth goal of the half when Samara won a penalty off of a beautiful individual action.
  • Asllani gave up the penalty to the woman who won it and Samara made the most of her rare opportunity to get on the scoresheet.
  • The pace of play dropped significantly in the second half, as one would expect after having won the game at halftime. Aznar made his changes in the 65th minute, bringing on Sofia Jakobsson, Aurélie Kaci, and Ariana Arias for Jessica, Cardona, and Asllani. Ari took advantage of the opportunity and scored after a beautiful pass from Maite started the entire thing.
  • Sara Ezquerro got her debut with little over ten minutes left, replacing Misa for one of the feel-good moments of the season. Claudia Florentino also came on at the same time, swapping out for Samara.
  • Sara got some action and made a sharp save but was unfortunate, seeing the rebound fall to Caroline Van Slambrouck, who converted from close range in the 82nd minute.
  • That was the last bit of relevant action, ensuring a 5-1 victory for Las Blancas. It was a stunning performance over the course of 45 minutes, driven by the magic of Cardona, Maite Oroz, Ivana Andrés, Olga, and Samara and the positional intelligence and smart link-up of Lorena. Watching this team has been one of the rare joys I’ve had in this brutal season of sports.