Nahikari Garcia assisted Esther in Las Blancas’ 1-0 win over Alaves. The result takes Real Madrid within three points of Atletico de Madrid and UDG Tenerife.
Las Blancas dominated the early proceedings. For the first 10-12 minutes Alaves couldn’t get a touch of the ball. But the Basque side grew into the match and upped their intensity. Real Madrid registered 11 shots and five on target, including a few good chances. Alaves were unable to muster a shot in the first half but frustrated Las Blancas and the sides went into the half locked at 0-0.
The second half was much more transitional than the first as Real Madrid pushed for a goal. Esther was kept out by the crossbar in the 53rd minute but eventually put Las Blancas in front in the 62nd minute. Substitute Nahikari Garcia set Esther up well and the striker finished nicely.
Alaves was forced to come out of their shell and started to gamble a bit more going forward. Las Blancas withstood the brief spell of Alaves pressure and quickly reestablished dominance. Real Madrid continued to create good chances but were unable to double their lead. They were able to see out the clean sheet and earn a much needed three points.
- 4’ Kosovare Asllani picked up the ball in her own half before driving at the defense. She sprayed it wide to Athenea del Castillo and made a run into the area. Athenea cut it to the Swede, who had her shot blocked out for a corner kick.
- 8’ Teresa took a corner short but was quickly given the ball again. She swung the ball toward the back post where Rocio Galvez met it. The center back looped her header back across goal to Esther Gonzalez, who was denied from close range.
- 11’ Teresa turned and played an outside-of-the-boot pass up the line. Olga Carmona played it to Claudia Zornoza in the box. The midfielder had her shot blocked and Las Blancas regained possession. The move ended with Lucia hitting a shot right at the keeper.
- 23’ Asllani won possession and quickly turned and played a through ball to Esther. The forward shot from a tight angle and pushed her shot wide.
- 28’ Teresa fired a shot over the crossbar from distance.
- 33’ After a good spell of possession, Zornoza lifted a shot over the bar.
- 35’ Lucia went on a slaloming run but couldn’t get enough power on her shot to really test the keeper.
- 38’ Teresa played a long free kick into the box. Rocio won the header at the back post but hit it into the side netting.
- 44’ Real Madrid regained possession with their press. After two fortuitous bounces, the ball landed at the feet of Esther but she was denied one versus one and the half would end goalless.
- 53’ Zornoza played an in-swinging free kick into the box. Esther met it and thumped her header off the crossbar.
- 55’ A corner kick was cleared to the top of the box and Lucia hit it first-time but shanked it.
- 62’ Nahikari Garcia came in for Maite Oroz.
- 62’ The substitute made an instant impact. Athenea cut inside and played a nice ball into Nahikari, who turned and laid it off to the on-rushing Esther. Esther drove into the box and slotted the ball into the bottom corner, giving Real Madrid a 1-0 lead.
- 73’ Lucia played a cross into the area and Nahikari collided with the keeper and a center back as the ball shot wide of the goal.
- 75’ Asllani came off for Kenti Robles.
- 84’ Teresa played a great ball into Nahikari, who pulled off a cheeky backheel flick to Esther. But Esther was denied by the keeper and was unable to double the lead.
- 87’ Zornoza played it forward to Olga, who shot right into the arms of the keeper.
- 90’ Caroline Moller Hansen and Paula Partido replaced Olga and Athenea.
- 90+1 Esther’s deflected shot hit off the post and out.
- 90+3’ Zornoza cut inside and tried to curl her shot into the bottom corner but pushed her shot out of play.
- 90+5 Real Madrid ensured the shut out and claimed a crucial three points.
Las Blancas are back in action on Wednesday, April 20 against Rayo Vallecano. The match is set to kick off at 11:00 a.m. Eastern (17:00 CEST).