It was derby day for Real Madrid Femenino as March Madness in Primera Iberdrola continued. Starting the game seven points behind cross-city rivals Atletico Madrid with two games in hand, Las Blancas managed to pull of a heist and cut that to four points at C.D. Wanda Alcalá de Henares. Goals against the run of play on either side of the half and a penalty save in the second period from Misa made sure Madrid kept a clean sheet and won 2-0.
Toril made some big calls to the starting XI with Ivana, Maite, Kenti, and Asllani all being benched for the big game. Real Madrid lined up in a 4-2-3-1 that morphed into a 4-4-2 out of possession, with Nahikari and Esther up top and Athenea and Møller as wingers. In defense, Babett paired with Rocío while Lucía replaced Kenti in the lineup. Atlético Madrid came out in their typical 4-4-2 with Van Dongen filling in for Menayo at LB and with Deyna picking up a red card from the last game. Ajibade and Latorre formed the front two.
Real Madrid struggled to have any sort of foothold in the game as Atlético Madrid kept on piling the pressure on the away side. Atleti deployed an aggressive player-to-player marking scheme that forced Madrid to play direct with lots of long passes, allowing the home team to win second balls quite easily. Las Colchoneras came extremely close to scoring on multiple occasions but the ball just wouldn’t roll into the back of the net.
Here are the three standout performers from the game.
Misa had a busy evening last night. She was called into action on multiple occasions and she responded every single time, most notably making a great save on the penalty in the second half. She was essentially became a wall as Atlético Madrid kept piling on the pressure. Her growing confidence was infectious and every single fist pump after a save gave Madrid a sense of belief. She jumped in to claim crosses, either catching them, battering them away, or earning fouls, giving Madrid tiny breathers. She had a couple of good sweeping actions as well, providing good coverage behind the back line.
This was one of the best performances by Babett Peter in Real Madrid colors. Captaining the side in the absence of Ivana, Babs put in a clinic in terms of box defending. She was at the right place at the right time to block multiple shots and make crucial clearances and won multiple headers off of corners and crosses to steer away danger. Peter’s biggest strength is her ability in defensive duels and in reading and handling these precarious situations. In a defense that was constantly under attack from the opposition, Babs was the anchor.
Caroline Møller Hansen
Møller was possibly the most effective attackers out of our front four, playing a hand in both the goals scored last night. She was deployed on the wings — mostly on the right — and served as a brilliant outlet out wide. With wingers staying wide under Toril, Møller offered width. It was arguably her movements off the ball that were at the core of both the goals Madrid scored.
On the first goal, she made an excellent blind-side run into the box from the right, getting in front of the marker to meet the cross. On the second, she stayed high and wide as an outlet to receive. After her reception, she moved slightly inwards, opening up space for Lucía on the overlap and played the pass. Møller followed this up by continuing her run into the channel to receive the pass, which allowed her to play the cutback for the assist.
Bits & Pieces
- Claudia Zornoza kickstarted the second goal with her brilliant switch of play to the right for Møller. She did repeat this again later on the in the game to help Madrid create some danger.
- Aurélie Kaci intercepted a pass and won the ball back for Madrid to start the sequence for the first goal.
- Lucía Rodriguez had a sensational clearance off the line from a shot by Leicy Santos in the 68th minute.
- For Atlético Madrid, the right hand combinations between Sheila García and Amanda Sampedro caused a lot of trouble for the visitors. Their rotations and movements allowed Ajibade to make the runs into the channel constantly. Ajibade also showcased brilliant hold-up play up front.
- Elsewhere, Latorre displayed her excellent 1v1 ability on multiple occasions, drifting out wide on the left and taking on Lucía.