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Player Ratings: Real Madrid Femenino 1 - 1 Manchester City; UWCL Qualifiers R2, 1st Leg

Kenti, Ivana, and Athenea starred.

Real Madrid v Manchester City - Women’s Champions League Photo by Angel Martinez/Getty Images

Real Madrid Femenino made their European debut yesterday against Manchester City. The match marked the start of something special, a page for the history books and Madrid made sure they arrived in the most Real Madrid fashion possible, scoring a 92nd min equalizer. The game ended 1-1 as Weir had notched the opener early in the 2nd half.

Both teams lacked key players in every department, with the visitors not having the services of Walsh, Kelly, and Bronze while Las Blancas were without Cardona, Asllani and Maite coming into this fixture. The home side lined up in a 4-4-2; Lucía Rodríguez played as the LB, Olga and Athenea started as the wide players, and Nahikari and Esther operated up top.

Real Madrid grew into proceedings as time went on. After an initial phase where City looked to be in control, Madrid managed to win possession thanks to their good counterpressing scheme. Madrid managed to create some solid opportunities down their right flank but couldn’t take advantage of it. The hosts saw a penalty given in their favor as Ivana was brought down by Bunny Shaw when they engaged in a loose ball duel. Esther couldn’t convert.

The tie will be decided when Madrid travel to Manchester on September 8th.

Player Ratings

Starting XI

Misa — 7.5/10: Misa responded brilliantly every time she was called into action. Her reflexes were on point as she palmed away shots to safety and kept Madrid in the game early on.

Kenti — 8.5/10: Real Madrid’s first ever goalscorer in UWCL history and scoring it in “Real Madrid time” as well. Kenti was solid on either ends of the pitch. She largely managed to keep a lid on Lauren Hemp and combined really well with Athenea down the right side as Madrid looked to attack City. Her crossing was great as usual.

Ivana Andrés — 8/10: Ivana led the defense and was fantastic with her aggressive approach. She read and cut off plays brilliantly, resulting in shooting opportunities for Las Blancas. She was brilliant at stepping up the pitch to intercept attacks. She earned Madrid a penalty after a loose ball duel with Shaw.

Babett Peter — 7/10: Babett had an okay game where she looked good defensively. There was one nervy moment where she couldn’t clear the lines well enough and it resulted in City’s first goal. Overall she looked decent defending 1v1 situations.

Lucía Rodríguez — 6.5/10: Lucía was deployed on the left side as a way to accommodate Olga and Athenea into the XI. Playing on the opposite flank limited her impact on the offensive end of things as she had to switch the ball to her dominant foot.

Athenea del Castillo — 8.5/10: Athenea never stopped running and attacking the City defense. She kept bombing forwards with the same zest throughout the game and her duels with Stokes made for a really good watch. Her pace and close control while carrying the ball forwards helped Madrid a lot while playing on the break. Her pace also aided Madrid in their counterpressing. The goal Madrid scored manifested from one of Athenea’s runs down the right and crosses into the box.

Aurélie Kaci — 6.5/10: Kaci had some good moments, like the one where she flew into the box from the right side and played a low cross into the box for Esther. She also had some misplaced passes.

Teresa Abelleira - 6.5/10: Teresa Abelleira was stationed deeper than Kaci. Madrid lacked control throughout the game having fielded just two midfielders, but she read play well at times, allowing her to intercept and stop opposition attacks. After the substitution of Zornoza, Teresa was given the freedom to venture higher up the pitch.

Olga Carmona — 7/10: Olga got better as the game went on. Her cross from the left found Esther brilliantly but the latter’s header hit the crossbar. Olga’s work-rate was great as usual, as she contributed on both ends of the pitch with increasing influence as the game went on.

Nahikari García — 6/10: Nahikari didn’t have the best of games as she dropped deeper playing a sort of supporting role to Esther in the 4-4-2. She pressed well to help Madrid regain possession high up. She was later moved out wide on the left side as Olga made way for Zornoza. She had two shots on goal but both were tame efforts.

Esther González— 6/10: Esther’s performance had two sides to it. On the one hand, she got into some good positions to score. On the other hand, she couldn’t capitalize on any of these opportunities and didn’t release the ball early in transition. She also missed a penalty.

Substitutes

Claudia Zornoza — 6.5/10: Zornoza was brought on to replace Olga in the 71st minute. Zornoza dropped deeper and allowed Teresa to venture forwards.

Caroline Møller Hansen — NA: Caroline Møller was introduced very late in the game (in the 85th min).