It was the final game week of a grueling season, with lots at stake as Real Madrid Femenino went up against Villarreal to secure a place in the UWCL qualification round for next season. It was also the last home game for Babett Peter, who is retiring at the end of this season and has been at the club since its inception.
Real Madrid needed to secure a win to have a shot at booking their place in the UWCL but also needed Barcelona to beat Atlético Madrid. Fortune favored the brave as things lined up and thanks to a goal from Asllani, Madrid were able to book their place in the UWCL qualification round.
Toril decided to go with a 3-4-1-2 and stationed Maite to play that #10 role with Asllani and Esther ahead of her. Athenea was deployed as the RWB while Tere and Zornoza were the midfield duo. Villarreal were set-up in a 4-4-2, with Salma Paralluelo and Sheila Guijarro as the front two.
Here are some standout performers from what was a nail-biting finish to the season
It just had to be Asllani who would score from the spot to send Real Madrid into next season’s UWCL. She was instrumental to Real Madrid’s overall play as she exhibited excellent ability receiving under pressure on the half-turn. She was able to turn away from challenges and attack the box and earn fouls. She worked well off the ball too and was once again a clutch figure in a big moment.
There are rumors that she might be leaving Real Madrid at the end of this season and if that is true, she is leaving with an unmatched legacy and a legend in Real Madrid’s history.
Maite was deployed in a role that brought out the best of her and helped Real Madrid do bits from settled possession. She was dynamic, moving across the pitch to provide support and keep the ball moving. Her first touch and body shape allowed her to progress possession forward. Her agility and ability in tight spaces allowed Madrid to draw fouls. Maite always calms down Madrid’s possession play, allowing for a greater sense of control over proceedings.
Athenea was good in bits. She was Madrid’s main route for box entries via her dribbling and ball carrying. She was an excellent outlet for the team and had multiple opportunities to get on the scoresheet herself. She wasn’t up to the mark when tracking back and helping Ivana. This led to a lot of unmarked run from Cienfu at the far post.
Bits and pieces
- Real Madrid’s approach to defending in the game was a bit strange with them fielding Ivana as the RB. Their back three largely looked like a back four without the ball. She looked very uncomfortable defending on the touchline and regularly coming up against Paralluelo. She was poor at keeping track of runners on the far post which resulted in a couple of really good opportunities for Villarreal.
- Kaci’s introduction didn’t work out well, with Madrid losing control in possession and there were some cheap turnovers in the middle of the park.
- Misa made a massive save in the 84th minute to keep the score at 1-0. She also had a sweeping moment earlier to deny the opportunity for Salma Paralluelo.
- Esther was relentless once again and it was her drive to get to the loose ball first that drew the penalty from the GK, after the earlier appeal was denied.