Real Madrid made it 8 wins out of 8 to begin the 2022/23 season, as they defeated Albanian side Vllaznia 2-0 in their UEFA Women’s Champions League Group Stage opener.
Vllaznia defended extremely well in the first half, limiting Real Madrid’s offense and keeping the score at 0-0. Although Las Blancas dominated the game with possession and continually breached the final third, they couldn’t really threaten the Vllaznia goal in the first 45 minutes.
The second half was a different story. Madrid scored both their goals in the second half; Esther González opened the scoring in the 54th minute after a touch of genius from Claudia Zornoza, while Olga Carmona’s 76th minute penalty sealed the three points.
Here are the full player ratings below:
GK: Misa Rodríguez — 6/10: Vllaznia failed to register a single shot during the game, which meant that Misa had nothing to do. She had one or two nervy moments, but nothing much to write about apart from that.
RB: Kenti Robles — 7/10: Untroubled by the opposition forwards. Had a few crosses that were dangerous. Was sharp in offensive sequences.
RCB: Kathellen Sousa — 7/10: A very assured performance from the Brazilian center-back at the heart of the defence. She was assigned with pinging long balls/diagonals to find outlets out wide, but wasn’t very accurate at it.
LCB: Rocío Gálvez — 6.5/10: An error-free performance from Madrid’s #4. Just like every other defender, she didn’t have much to do.
LB: Sofie Svava — 7.5/10: Was effective in attack as she made proper runs which allowed her to ping crosses that created not just danger, but also chances (especially in the first half).
CDM: Freja Siri — 6.5/10: Played as the single pivot in front of the defense and fulfilled her role without much hassle.
RCM: Sandie Toletti — 6/10: Deployed as a right-sided interior in the 4-3-3 formation, Toletti played the first 45 minutes before being brought off at half-time. She didn’t leave a mark on the game the way we know she can.
LCM: Claudia Zornoza — 8.5/10: The player of the match. Zornoza celebrated her 32nd birthday with a fantastic performance. In Caroline Weir’s absence, the playmaking responsibilities fell on her shoulder, and she was often the only player making things happen in the first half, where Las Blancas failed to penetrate the Vllaznia defence. Capped off her performance with a brilliant first-time assist for Esther’s goal.
RW: Athenea del Castillo — 5.5/10: This was Athenea’s least impactful display yet this season. She attempted a lot of dribbles, but was often found losing her duels against Vllaznia left-back Luçije Gjini, who dealt with Madrid’s #22 pretty well. She was brought off in the 67th minute.
LW: Olga Carmona — 7.5/10: Olga started as a left winger and put in a good shift. Much like her counterparts, she couldn’t generate much threat in the final third. She had a much-improved second half performance where she took on players with much more freedom. She both won and converted the penalty to put the game to bed.
ST: Esther González — 7/10: Esther continued her fine form in front of goal with another goal, this time to break the deadlock. She was deployed as a ‘target woman’ to chest down long balls pinged from the back. Her link-up play, though, was not as prominent a feature of her display this time, but she was composed as ever to finish the first goal.
RCM/LW: Maite Oroz — 7/10 (replaced Toletti; 46’): Brought in much needed energy and dynamism in the midfield after replacing Toletti at the start of the second half, which helped Real Madrid explore more threatening territory and create chances.
RW: Naomie Feller — 5.5/10 (replaced del Castillo; 67’): Much like the player she substituted, Feller wasn’t able to do much from the right wing position.
ST: Nahikari García — 4.5/10 (replaced Esther; 79’): Had a few chances to get her name on the scoresheet but couldn’t manage to.
CB: Ivana Andrés — N/A (replaced Gálvez; 79’): Was brought on for Rocio Gálvez in the 79th minute to see off the game.
RCM: Teresa Abelleira — N/A (replaced Olga; 79’): Was brought on for Olga Carmona in the 79th minute, which saw Maite Oroz play as a left winger to keep the 4-3-3 shape. Tere didn’t have much time to do anything noteworthy.