Real Madrid drew PSG 0-0 in what turned out to be a tense contest. PSG had the better of things for the majority of the game but Las Blancas hung on and came back strong to end the match.
Below are my immediate thoughts and analysis, along with some highlights. Player ratings and a post-match podcast will follow.
- Alberto Toril brought Caroline Weir back into the lineup but went with rotations elsewhere. Captain Ivana Andrés was dropped in favor of a Kathellen Sousa-Rocío Gálvez pairing in central defense, with Kenti Robles getting the call at right back ahead of Lucía Rodríguez. In midfield, Freja Siri started alongside Sandie Toletti and Claudia Zornoza, making Weir a false right winger in attack. The possession structure was as we’ve seen it before: a box midfield with Weir and Zornoza as attacking midfielders.
- This shape theoretically gives Madrid a lot of control in midfield, but that did not materialize in the first half. PSG pressed high and aggressively stepped up to Weir and Zornoza when they tried to receive back-to-goal, speeding up the home side’s thought process and execution. Real didn’t respond particularly well, leaning into their worst tendencies; the passing was frantic and they quickly become obsessed with going long, especially when Kathellen was on the ball. There were dangerous runs being made by Kenti, Weir, and others, but there was defensive value to establishing control that Madrid often failed to recognize. PSG deserve credit for the intensity and coordination of their press.
- On the flip side, the All Whites’ defending in their own third was genuinely very good. Rocío made a number of crucial interceptions and Olga held her own vs. Kadidiatou Diani in most battles. Everyone else was very alert in the box and helped Madrid tread water vs. an onslaught of pressure. There was some luck too, as Martens hit the bar on a cross-shot and a few random bounces from corners fell the Merengues’ way.
- Madrid did get some joy in the opposite third. Weir had a moment of magic combining with Zornoza to threaten the penalty area and there were a few high-pressing sequences that caused PSG some trouble. In all, though, PSG had the better of the first half.
- The beginning of the second half continued the pattern of the first. Diani caused trouble early and managed to get a 1v1 chance that Misa saved brilliantly. The shot was enabled by a rare misjudgment from Rocío, who tried to step up and collided with Zornoza while Sousa was positioned relatively high, allowing Diani to slip through.
- After that escape, Madrid managed to create some opportunities seemingly out of nowhere. The biggest one came in the 58th minute; Esther aimed for Weir in the box, calling Bouhaddi out. The keeper couldn’t quite get to it and punched the ball out to Toletti, who pushed a tough volley over an open net.
- In the 76th minute, Toril brought on Maite Oroz and Sofie Svava on for Toletti and Athenea respectively, moving Olga up into attack.
- Madrid had a decent spell of pressure in the opposition half in the minutes leading up to and following the subs. However, they created their best chance after PSG hit back with their own spell — Zornoza put a shot wide of the post after Kenti’s cutback was dealt with poorly by PSG’s defense.
- It was pretty back-and-forth from then on, with both sides putting together dangerous sequences that had their respective fanbases wondering about what could’ve been. Ultimately, it ended 0-0, with Toril killing the final seconds by bringing on Tere for Olga in the 93rd minute.