Real Madrid faced league leaders Barcelona for the first time this season, tonight. The team suffered their first defeat of the season as they endured a humiliating evening, thanks to a nightmarish defensive display.
Coach Alberto Toril fielded a 4-2-3-1 formation. Although the lineup shown below shows Caroline Weir operating as a central attacking midfielder, she once again started on the right wing with Claudia Zornoza operating between the lines.
- Barcelona started the game with immense intensity, taking Las Blancas by surprise as they exploited the spaces between the lines expertly.
- The first real sign of danger came in the 2nd minute from a Barcelona throw-in. Rocío Gálvez was marking Geyse Ferreira, but the former got her challenge completely wrong, allowing Geyse to turn and make her way into the box, forcing a save from Misa Rodríguez from close range.
- Just 45 seconds later, Patri Guijarro rattled the crossbar after a scramble around the penalty box.
- The goal finally came for the Catalans as a beautiful lofted ball from Patri found Ana-Maria Crnogorčević, who made a great off-ball run to head the opener into the back of the net. Sofie Svava should have done better on this sequence.
- What we saw in the first five to ten minutes of the game became a common theme as Barcelona held a high line. However, they got back in shape and drifted deeper as a unit every time Madrid got the ball. The difference in the compactness between the two sides was comprehensive.
- Real Madrid tried to press higher too on occasion, but to no avail. The build-up was lethargic and lackadaisical more often than not. Teresa Abelleira and Sandie Toletti had little to no impact in the midfield as they got overpowered by Barca’s quartet of Aitana Bonmatí, Patri Guijarro, Claudia Pina, and Keira Walsh.
- In general, Madrid’s passing left a lot to be desired as there were several occasions where Barca gifted the possession to Madrid but the hosts just threw it away instantly.
- Barcelona used Geyse Ferreira to extremely good effect, as Las Blancas’ defenders had no answer to her pace and physicality. The Barca #18 would often drift out on the left and take on Lucía Rodríguez to create danger while Crnogorčević and other midfielders flooded the box. Her chemistry with Fridolina Rolfö created a lot of problems too.
- Esther González had the first real chance for the team in white when she found the ball at her feet in the box off of a touch from a Barcelona player. Her left-footed volleyed effort lacked a proper connection and didn’t trouble Barca keeper Sandra Paños at all.
- The first half ended with another Barca goal, as Patri Guijarro found the back of the net from a corner in the 44th minute. Needless to say, the marking by Real Madrid players was horrendous. Kathellen Sousa should have been more proactive.
- The second half began in pretty much the same fashion as the first, with Barcelona attacking with a lot of intent. Crnogorčević forced another save from Misa in the 49th minute. Madridistas have their captain to thank for limiting the scoreline to 4-0.
- As a reaction to the continued dominance of the opposition, Toril brought on two substitutes: Olga Carmona on for Sandie Toletti and Nahikari García as a like-for-like replacement of Esther, who cut a frustrating figure.
- Barcelona put the final nail in the coffin when Aitana scored the 3rd goal of the game. Once again, some terrible defending in the box — yet again by Rocío — gifted the visitors another opportunity to find the back of the net.
- Claudia Zornoza conjured some magic in the 58th minute. She collected the ball in Zone 14 and found some space to attack, which she did by running towards the goal with the ball at her feet. Her curling effort came agonizingly close to reducing the deficit to two goals, but it hit the post, unfortunately.
- In the 65th and 67th minute, Misa came up with two more blockbuster saves. The Barca midfielders could find outlets so effortlessly as Madrid didn’t learn from their mistakes in the first half. The team was shred apart into two with a simple pass from the deep way too often, although that is by no means a way to undermine the opposition players, who evidently put in much more intent and effort during the game.
- Las Blancas conceded the fourth and the final goal in the 81st minute after Aitana’s shot was first saved by Misa and then blocked on the goal line by Lucía off a Rolfö shot. That block resulted in chaos in the Real Madrid box, with Lucía’s attempt to clear the ball rebounding off of Rolfö and trickling into the back of the net. Madrid’s defending in the box was shambolic during the entirety of the game.
- Toril’s side saw more of possession in the dying embers of the game, but it was too late to spark a comeback. Madrid suffered their first defeat of the season and continue to be the pushovers when it comes to El Clásico.