In what was one of Real Madrid Femenino’s most important matches of the season, Teresa Abelleira put in a masterful performance. She not only dominated proceedings from start to finish but the 22 year-old midfielder displayed the type of impact she can have as she continues to develop her game.
Las Blancas defeated UDG Tenerife 2-0 on Saturday in what was a must-win game for Real Madrid. After a horrendous start to the season and a coaching change, Las Blancas have found their form and climbed up the table. Tenerife held a five-point advantage over Real Madrid prior to kickoff. With a win, Las Blancas were set to climb to within two points of Tenerife as well as third-place Atlético de Madrid.
Real Madrid, led by an inspired Teresa, managed to close the gap while possessing a game in hand, meaning that their destiny is in their own hands when it comes to qualifying for the 2023 UEFA Women’s Champions League.
Teresa was deployed in a double pivot alongside Claudia Zornoza against Tenerife. The two midfielders were flanked by Athenea del Castillo and Caroline Møller Hansen, who operated as wingers. That meant that Teresa and Zornoza shouldered the midfield duties.
Tere was the deepest-lying of the two CM’s. She dropped to connect with the back line and facilitate Las Blancas’ progression up the pitch. The Galician midfielder did an exceptional job of peeling off the back shoulder of Tenerife’s pressing forwards: Sydny Nasello and Cristina Martin-Prieto.
The Tenerife forwards and midfielders attempted to limit Teresa’s influence by marking her, but she used her intelligent movement to occupy space in the blind spots of the defenders. Through her positioning, she was able to drag defenders out of shape to create passing lanes to other players. She reacted dynamically to the context of each sequence, constantly readjusting her movement to find space and turning out of pressure.
Teresa’s close-control and press resistance allowed her to read the defense well as she took well-weighted touches to create room for herself before moving the team forward. As Real Madrid progressed up the pitch, Teresa commanded their possession play, demanding the ball and dictating the tempo of the match. She repeatedly showed for the ball and offered herself as an outlet when Tenerife tried to win possession back with numbers.
Teresa set the pace and dictated the tempo (slowing the pace down to ensure control before springing the team forward with her progressive passes), but she also was one of Las Blancas’ primary chance creators. The Galician orchestrated everything, stitching lines together by playing quick deliveries, line-breaking through balls, and cross-field switches.
Teresa’s ingenuity with the ball at her feet allowed her to find players in optimal positions, whether by shifting the defense with a pass to the far-side fullback or by playing a ball into stride for an attacker.
The midfielder also played a role in both goals scored by Real Madrid. In the 28th minute, Zornoza played a short corner to Teresa, who returned the ball to Zornoza. Claudia promptly swung the ball onto the head of Rocío. The center back rose up at the back post and thumped Real Madrid into the lead.
In the 86th minute, substitute Maite Oroz scored the goal that would seal the result. Maite produced a moment of magic as she danced past the Tenerife defense and into the box before slotting the ball into the bottom corner. It was a spectacular goal that would not have been possible without the effort of Teresa in build-up.
Teresa won possession back and hustled to keep the ball in play, passing it down the line to Kenti Robles. The Mexican found Maite Oroz at the top of the box and the Basque midfielder produced the golazo that would ensure this crucial result.
Teresa’s masterclass against Tenerife was a case of a great player stepping up in a potentially season-defining game. The midfielder rarely put a foot wrong as she ran the game from start to finish. Perhaps Las Blancas most underrated midfielder, Teresa Abelleira demonstrated the influence she can have on all facets of the game and why she is so important to this team and their future both in Spain and on the European stage.