Real Madrid took Barcelona to the brink before an Alexia Putellas goal finally broke the deadlock in the 91st minute. Check out Grant’s immediate reaction for a match review. Continue reading for the player ratings.
GK: Misa — 9/10: Misa was absolutely incredible, keeping Madrid in the game with a glut of saves, smart sweeping actions, and solid cross-claiming/punching. My only nitpick is that she should’ve handled a 51st minute header better. It was a relatively tame effort that should’ve been held or parried wide. Instead, it fell straight to Fridolina Rolfö for a tap-in that she missed. On the other hand, there is little Misa could’ve done on the goal Barcelona eventually scored.
Enjoy the highlights of a star in the making:
RB: Kenti Robles — 7.5/10: Kenti was phenomenal defensively, paying particular attention to guard the channel vs. Rolfö and Lieke Martens. The Mexican also made a few timely challenges on Alexia whenever the Barcelona star drifted wide.
RCB: Babett Peter — 7/10: Martens and Rolfö both managed to get free in the box on more than a few occasions, producing some of Barca’s best chances of the games. However, Babs did well in the aggregate, given the volume of deliveries she had to face.
LCB: Ivana Andrés — 7/10: It was a similar story for Ivana, who could not completely lock down Martens nor Rolfö in the area while being a positive in the grander picture. Ivana was also typically sharp stepping out to make challenges and prevented Martens from getting easy receptions as the false nine.
LB: Olga Carmona — 6/10: Besides the goalkeeper, the left back usually has the toughest time when it comes to Barca opponents. Caroline Graham Hansen is the best winger and take-on artist in the world and produced a number of dangerous crosses and moments off-the-dribble, even though she didn’t look completely on it. Olga handled her about as well as could be expected, but loses points for a bad clearance/pass after a good interception in the 6th minute, which led to Barca’s first chance of the game. She was also caught out with her positioning on the goal.
RCM: Aurélie Kaci — 7/10: A typical defensive outing from Kaci. She wasn’t just physical and accurate in the tackle, but calculated with her positioning. She didn’t let Alexia’s roaming drag her out of her zone and trusted that more structurally sound options could cover the 2021 Ballon d’Or winner. Kaci’s impact in possession was less pronounced.
LCM: Claudia Zornoza — 7/10: Zornoza was excellent against the ball, which isn’t something you say every day. She can be guilty of not tracking runs and losing sight of the action when it moves behind her. That was not the case vs. La Blaugrana. The ex-Levante midfielder was locked in and partnered with Kaci brilliantly to shut out the center of the pitch. On top of that, she let loose a long-range shot that almost gave Madrid the lead.
A big mistake that set up Patri Guijarro 1v1 with Misa holds her rating back.
AM/LW: Maite Oroz — 7/10: Maite was the one midfielder who gave Las Blancas a ray of light vs. the vicious counterpress and played some of the team’s best passes on the break. Her footwork in tight spaces is sublime and we’re starting to see more and more of that as Alberto Toril uses her higher up. Defensively, Maite cut a dedicated figure shadowing Patri and trying to block off lanes through the middle.
RW: Caroline Møller Hansen — 7/10: Møller had sparks on offense here and there but really shined through her work-rate. In addition to tracking back, she was smart about coming inside and preventing Alexia from receiving uncontested when the latter tried to dismark from Kaci.
LW/RW: Athenea del Castillo — 6.5/10: As usual, Athenea was Madrid’s primary outlet on the counter-attack. Little came of her ball-carrying actions but she had a shot and committed to her defensive chores.
ST: Esther González — 6/10: It isn’t a surprise that Esther was isolated and starved of possession for long stretches of the match, but Madrid needed her to be quicker and more efficient with her passing and decision-making once she got on the ball. Her all-round energy and willingness to show vs. the press were positives.
RB: Claudia Florentino — 7/10 (replaced Kenti; 61’): Besides an awful backpass that nearly wound up in Misa’s goal, Claudia was tremendous as a makeshift right back. With Athenea on her side, she stayed back and focused on emerging victorious in 1v1 duels.
ST: Nahikari García — 6/10 (replaced Møller; 61’): Although Nahikari made a fantastic run on a counter-attack to force Sandro Paños into a timely intervention, Madrid’s #14 was ultimately rather uninvolved. Being a striker vs. Barcelona is an unenvious task.
RCM: Teresa Abelleira — 6.5/10 (replaced Kaci; 67’): Teresa continued Kaci’s trend of solid defensive work.