For a more comprehensive picture of what went down, check out Grant Little’s immediate reaction. In this article, we’ll go over the key players that powered Las Blancas to victory.
1. Teresa Abelleira
Tere got close to attaining on-ball perfection before coming down to earth with some turnovers late in the game. She was untouchable in her best stretches, emerging from tight spaces unscathed and firing crisp passes into the front line.
Defensively, she was monstrous in duels in the opposition half, particularly in high-pressing and counterpressing sequences. This is arguably her most underrated trait — both because it goes unrecognized and because these actions are of very high value, given that they often spark offensive transition.
2. Ivana Andrés
Ivana’s ball-playing goes to another level on the right-hand side of the pitch; everything about her body orientation just clicks, enabling her to drive against the grain of opposition pressure and buy time for deadly vertical deliveries. Granadilla’s defensive coordination was messy and there was acres of room between the last two lines, allowing Ivana to put on an exhibition in progressive passing from the center-back position.
Defensively, she was her typical self, dovetailing between stepping up like only few can and covering space in behind.
3. Maite Oroz
It’s remarkable that Madrid’s best midfielder in Maite Oroz didn’t start the two most important league matches of the season, although her presence was less necessary vs. Granadilla as opposed to the encounter against Atleti. Nevertheless, the former Athletic prospect came off the bench in the 69th minute and sealed the deal with only several hundred seconds to spare.
It was a moment of sheer class that made up for an earlier moment of indecision on the break — something that was strangely characteristic of Madrid the entire match.
Aside from those situations, Maite was incredibly efficient with her movement and circulation, receiving in pockets and getting rid of the ball quickly. If Granadilla were already struggling before her arrival, they suffered even more once she took the pitch.
Bits & Pieces
- Real Madrid’s set-piece routine on the opener was simple but clever; a one-two to free up Claudia Zornoza for a better angle, with Rocío Gálvez drifting towards the back post. The latter is a major threat in the air and might’ve made the main section of the piece if it wasn’t for her inconsistent distribution.
- Today’s game was the perfect environment for Nahikari García. Granadilla’s inability to prevent Madrid from getting in behind should’ve created plenty of 1v1’s for #14, but the execution of pass and run was too often on a different wavelength. She did finally get a chance in the second half, but rushed her shot and botched the chip.
- Esther was the one who delivered the potential assist to Nahikari and was generally a strong positive with her link-up in this one. Nevertheless, across ninety minutes, there are always three to four scenarios where she can release the ball much, much faster.
- My knowledge of WoSo goalkeepers is far from complete, but it’s hard to imagine that there are many better coming off their line than Misa.
- Athenea was the player who received possession off-the-shoulder the most but couldn’t make the defense pay through either a final pass or shot. Her last action of the match was a botched 1v1 thanks to a poor touch and she was visibly frustrated as she made her way to the bench soon afterwards. It’s only a matter of time before this changes, but, as of now, she doesn’t affect games on a weekly basis like the elite.
- Møller spent most of her time on the right wing and struggled turning out of pressure. Whether she is most comfortable on the left or in the center is another discussion entirely — placing her on the right seems to set her up for failure (at least when she’s receiving to feet). We saw Esther move to the right flank successfully in the 2-0 win over Athletic Bilbao. Swapping her and Møller should’ve been on the cards today.