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Match Recap: Real Madrid 3-1 Tigres UANL; Club Friendly

Bruun and Maite score and debuts for a lot of players in the first win of pre-season.

Tigres UANL Women v Real Madrid Women - Friendly Match Photo by Alfredo Lopez/Jam Media/Getty Images

The World Cup fever hasn’t worn off completely but club football is underway. Real Madrid Femenino got their 2023-24 pre-season underway with a friendly in Mexico against Tigres.

With the eight players as a part of Spain’s World Cup winning squad, Las Blancas didn’t have all the players back for this pre-season tour. This game was more about going to an unexplored land and getting the motors started against a side who are eight games deep in their season already. Tigres, the most successful side in the league, are currently unbeaten in the Liga MX after eight games, winning seven of them.

With players joining the squad at different times, Alberto Toril decided to field a slightly different looking lineup. It was the typical 4-2-3-1 formation with Weir in the free role but had some fresh faces.

New summer signing, Mylene Chavas, started in goal and Signe Bruun led the line as the number nine. The Danish striker was flanked by Carla Camacho on the right and Caroline Moller Hansen on the left with a midfield double pivot of Maite Oroz and Freja Siri. Rocio Galvez was the only starter from the Spanish contingent.

The game started and the immediate highlight was the extremely water logged pitch. The pitch was in a terrible condition that disrupted any flow in the game. The ball barely moved and bounced on the field. The playing conditions were very sub-optimal.

Neither team were able to impose any sort of playstyle on the game and were barely able to create from sustained possession. The host side were able to get a foothold as the first half progressed and tried to breach the defence with some crosses or long range efforts. One such deep cross was able to find its target at the back post and a brilliant finish on the half-volley by Maricarmen Reyes managed to beat Chavas at the near post.

Madrid became a lot more proactive following this and immediately equalized from the second phase of a corner. It was a weird goal where Bruun managed to get the first contact and loop it over the on-rushing goalkeeper and into the back of the net. As the half matured we saw that Danish connection between Svava and Bruun with the crossing and heading. This is a connection worth keeping an eye on.

Toril changed the wingers heading into the second half. Athenea and Linda Caicedo were brought on to replace Moller and Camacho. The experiment didn’t exactly work in chance creation as both players aren’t true wingers. Freja was also pretty unimpactful and was replaced by Claudia Zornoza into the second half.

We instantly saw some better combination play between Caicedo and Bruun. The former PSG striker moved and dropped off brilliantly to combine with the Colombian. This resulted in the second goal where we were able to see more clearly the aerial ability of Bruun and the potential heading into the season.

Kenti started looking leggy and was replaced by new summer signing Oihane Hernandez. As the players got used to the condition and with the substitutions, Las Blancas started controlling the game better. We started seeing a semblance of possession sequences and better positioning from the players.

The third goal was a very good team move right from the buildup to the chance creation near the box. Maite orchaestrated the move deeper and attacked the box with her run and was played in by Zornoza. The former Athletic Club playmaker made no mistake and doubled Madrid’s lead.

Madrid did manage to see out the game but they were challenged as Tigres did hit the post once and called Chavas into action. The French goalkeeper had a weird outing where she conceded just once but looked uncomfortable collecting low shots and saved shots at a comfortable height. Her ball handling and ability to leave the line looked a bit shaky but some of it is also down to the conditions.

Beyond this, Toril handed minutes to some academy players like Olaya and Sara. Feller also got minutes on the pitch. In midfield youngster Olaya did a decent job at circulating possession and being proactive on the ball. Rocio had to be subbed off due to slight worry but seemed fine on the bench.

Hard to draw sweeping conclusions from game 1 of the season and given the conditions but the ideas seem the same from last season, no real change in that. It’s all about how the personnel adapts to it.

Match highlights

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