It was the first ever Clásico in the UEFA Women’s Champions League at home for Real Madrid last night and it was quite a game, as Las Blancas made their presence felt in Europe against the reigning champions. The game ended 3-1 for the visitors but nothing can take away from the valiant effort of the players who worked extremely hard to take the game to Barcelona. Toril’s gameplan expended a lot of energy but it worked quite well initially and reaped rewards.
The referee took the center stage as the game went on with a bunch of inconsistent and at times dubious calls which left a sour taste on top of the loss. Real Madrid take a 1-3 scoreline into the second leg which is away in the Camp Nou next week and will be an even biggest test of Toril’s players and tactics.
Here are 3 players who stood out during the game
Teresa was absolutely incredible throughout the game. Playing as the deepest midfielder and tasked with nullifying Putellas on most occasions, she looked up for the task. In possession, she was good at turning away from Barcelona’s press and directing the ball forwards. She matched Barcelona’s midfielders physically. She helped out Lucía massively in doubling down on that right flank against Rolfö and Ouahabi.
Lucía was tasked with holding the fort on the left side facing Rolfö & Ouahabi and she did so splendidly well. She used her pace to recover and close down opponents quickly. She cleared the ball on multiple occasions averting danger and made some well timed tackles and interceptions to help regain possession. When the opportunity arose, she did provide supporting runs but she didn’t get in attack as much. She couldn’t showcase a lot of her on ball qualities in this game.
One word to describe Esther’s game yesterday would be: menace. She made a nuisance at the front and ran till the last minute. She was vocal and seemed to manage to get under the skin of some of Barcelona’s veterans. She pressed aggressively and didn’t hesitate making fouls. Esther was the one who created the first goal, holding the ball and releasing it to perfection on that occasion into an onrushing Olga’s path for the assist. She made some really good runs off the shoulder but the timing was just off on a few occasions. She could have had a goal as well, controlling a delivery from a set-piece and hitting the upright.
Bits & Pieces
- Olga Carmona, the scorer of the goal, had a good game too. She helped Svava defensively to deal with the threat of Caroline Graham Hansen.
- Maite was good as well, playing as the advanced midfielder and with her pressing from up front. She blocked off passing lanes and directed possession in the wide areas. She used her exquisite ball control to win some fouls. She was really safe with the ball at her feet.
- Zornoza was good too in the game. She is always a threat from dead balls and put in some nice deliveries into the box. It was her pressure initially on Alexia that forced the error and resulted in the goal. She was good under pressure as well.
- While Madrid did a decent job at reducing Barcelona to shoot from close range and didn’t allow them many shots especially in the first half but whenever called into action Misa was ready to match it. She made an important save in the dying minutes when she punched the ball over the crossbar.
- Real Madrid weren’t able to keep up their intense press in the second half and the tired legs started to show both in defence and attack which Barcelona capitalized on.
- Patri Guijarro, apart from the last minute run to provide the pass across the goal for the third goal, had a pretty subpar outing. Her positioning was off by a little margin which made lots of differences.
- Putellas was closely marked and fouled on multiple occasions during the game not allowing her to settle into the game. She lost the ball on 20 occasions and was the game’s most fouled player. Despite scoring twice Real Madrid came out with a good plan to stifle the Ballon D’or winner.