Immediate reaction: Real Madrid Femenino 2-0 Athletic Club
Real Madrid Femenino beat Athletic Club 2-0 thanks to goals from Athenea del Castillo and Nahikari Gracia. Las Blancas jump the Basque team to fifth place. Before kick-off, the teams walked out in shirts that read “Todos con Ucrania”.
Las Blancas and Athletic Club both turned to their direct options in the opening minutes. As the game wore on, Real Madrid dominated possession and tried to break through their rivals’ compact defence. Athletic Club continued to turn to Lucia Garcia and Ane Azkona, who were fleeing the back shoulder of the defence.
Real Madrid had the best of possession and more chances, but Athletic’s threat on the counter was a constant reminder that even though they didn’t have much of the ball, they could strike fast. Neither team was able to capitalize on the half chances they created and the teams entered the break locked in a scoreless draw.
Athletic Club created much more danger than Las Blancas at the start of the second half. Real Madrid struggled to maintain the possession dominance they had in the first half and Athletic Club were better able to play through Las Blancas’ defence.
Las Blancas was more clinical and grew in the second half. Athenea del Castillo took advantage of a bad back pass and opened the scoring. Substitute Nahikari Gracia secured the result with a brilliant chip shot.
- 3′ Azkona has passed Rocio and has completed a well-balanced pass. Rocio recovered well and pushed Azkona back just enough to make sure the shot didn’t bother Misa in goal.
- 4 At the other end, Kaci loose Kosovare Asllani in the area. She stepped back to take a shot on goal, but it was blocked for a corner.
- 19′ Athenea cut inside on his right foot and hit a direct straight shot at the Athletic Club keeper.
- 19′ Kaci gives the ball away from the top of the Real Madrid penalty area. The Lionesses tempted to capitalize by Rocio were able to direct the shot for a corner, allaying the immediate danger.
- 26′ Claudia Zornoza landed a free kick in the box. It was cleared only as far as Rocio. The centre-back’s shot was tamed and landed at the feet of Asllani, who failed to get his shot past Athletic Club’s multiple defenders.
- 27′ Kenti Robles catches a pass and sends the ball to Esther at the top of the penalty area. The attacker dribbled to create a window to shoot and knocked it into the hands of the keeper.
- 41′ Athletic Club countered on pace. Lucia Garcia received the ball and lined up what looked like a clear chance on goal until Ivana Andres issued a sliding challenge to block the shot.
- 45′ Kenti Robles was first to a 50-50 ball and threw a vertical ball to Rocio in the box. Rocio played a soft cross towards the penalty area. Esther got there by dribbling past the diving keeper and shooting. The Athletic Club defenders did well to put a throw-in to prevent the opener.
- 47′ Athletic Club have created the most dangerous chance of the game so far. Azkona played a great cross at the head of Yulema Corres.
- 51′ Asllani overtook his defender and fired a backhand aimed at Esther who was waiting to strike from the penalty spot. The ball never arrived thanks to a challenge from an Athletic Club defender.
- 56′ Kaci played an assist to Zornoza, who launched Athenea in the back. The young winger crossed Esther but the striker couldn’t get enough contact to direct him on target.
- 60′ Lucia Garcia drops a long lobed ball and strikes with the left foot. The shot went over the Real Madrid goal.
- 62′ Athletic Club almost took advantage of a corner. He was heading for the back post where two Lionesses crashed into the ball. Kaci launched an all-out challenge to eliminate the danger.
- 67′ Teresa and Nahikari Garcia have replaced Asllani and Maite Oroz.
- 71′ Real Madrid take advantage of an error and open the scoring. Oihane Valdezate played a soft back aimed at goalkeeper Mariasun Quiñones. Athenaeus ran over it. Quiñones tried to slide in and challenge Athenea but the ball looped into the back of the net and Las Blancas had the lead.
- Nahikari was knocked down in the box and appealed for a penalty but the referee waved to continue.
- 86′ Esther turned around and played Zornoza. The midfielder slipped Nahikari behind and she expertly picked her up over the keeper and into the back of the net.
- 89′ Real Madrid nearly made it 3-0. Athenea crossed paths with Teresa, who made a late run into the box. Teresa tried to hit her first shot at the back post but headed it wide.
- 90+1′ Olga Carmona, Lucia Rodriguez and Claudia Florentino have replaced Kenti Robles, Ivana Andres and Esther.
- 90+1′ Misa made a great save to counter Athletic Club and secure the 2-0 win.
Real Madrid Femenino will face rivals Atletico de Madrid in the rescheduled Derbi Madrileña on Wednesday, March 9. Kickoff is scheduled for 1:00 p.m. EST (7:00 p.m. CEST).