A 10-1 scoreline is bracing and uncomfortable for the neutral, but often such washouts are reserved for top versus bottom. So how did the Supercopa Femenina final between Barcelona and Real Sociedad finish with such a jarring scoreline?
A brand spanking new tournament for this season featuring just four teams with a semi-final round – which took place earlier in the week – before the final, the four teams were the Copa de la Reina finalists and the two highest finishers in the league from the last season. Meaning Real Sociedad (CdlR champions), Atletico Madrid (CdlR runners up), Barcelona (league runners up behind Atleti) and Levante (third place league finishers) made up the four teams.
Currently sixth in the league, Real Sociedad are arguably and comfortably not the best team in Spain. But they’re a long way from the worst too. A young side (with few players over 24-years-old), the team falls into the growing void in Primera Iberdrola as a side that won’t trouble for a Champions League berth but have the ability to beat the best in the country on their day. Look no further than their cup final win over Atleti last May. At the same time, La Real can stumble though matches against markedly weaker sides and surrender needless points; a team to make up the numbers but little more.
There is no question that the team from San Sebastián did not play at all well in the final this weekend. But what of their opposition?
Despite having drawn a blank against Atleti last month and being held to a draw by Rayo Vallecano at the start of the season, Barca have been ruthless this season. An unrelenting, punishing monster that has attacked teams with wild abandon, Barcelona ripped and tore into Sociedad from the get-go in Salamanca. Licking their lips at the lax defending from their opposition before chewing up the team in blue and white, leaving nothing but a stripped carcass like a trophy of conquest or warning beacon for any team thinking they can take anything from them this season.
90 long minutes
The first goal only took five minutes to arrive; Alexia Putellas’ dancing on the left side of the box left her marker rolled, her ball into the mixer met by Marta Torrejón as she raced past Leire Baños. Two minutes later it was 2-0— Asisat Oshoala had gone with the sauce, trying to flick the ball home with an overhead kick and failing to connect properly, but Alexia was there again spinning in the box and unleashing an effort to beat Mariasun.
In a relatively calm spell of 25 minutes, La Real sustained pressure from Barcelona, with yellow shirts swamping the midfield and forward thirds, those in blue and white hopelessly outnumbered and static. Caroline Graham Hansen’s work on the right led to a ball in, with Torrejón there streaking through the middle of the box from a right-back position. Two minutes past and Oshoala had her first, the Nigerian goal-machine needing two bites of the cherry to put the ball away after some slick one-touch football. Then it was five, Graham Hansen well-placed in the clustered box to lash home before Alexia added the sixth just before the break.
La Real were hapless; they had no footing in the match, no presence in midfield, and thus no penetration in attack, forcing them to crowd their own defensive third. Barcelona sent numbers forward, and even if their opposition had done a better job about closing down and marking, there was always a spare yellow shirt or two. Beaten into submission long before half-time, the second half brought about more of the same one-sided football.
Still struggling with consistency, Oshoala returned to her clinical best as she added the seventh; dashing onto a long threaded ball from Alexia, out-sprinting all in blue and white, she raced into the box and eased the ball into the far corner without breaking a sweat. Let down by her defence and admittedly not having the best of games anyway, Mariasun pulled out a strong save to deny Graham Hansen, but she could only parry the ball into space, Torrejón was the first to pounce, firing home with her first touch.
It would be fair to say that Manuela Lareo’s tally, just after the hour, was a conciliation goal for La Real. Barcelona’s defenders were more concerned with attacking than defending, and the browbeaten team finally capitalised after struggling to look convincing in attack. But then came another pair of goals scored within minutes of each other for the Catalans; first 19-year-old substitute Candela Andújar nodded home from close range, before Torrejón rose well to head Lieke Martens’ corner over Mariasun and into the back of the net. it was the defender’s fourth and Barcelona’s tenth of the day, and finally they were done.
To reach the final, Sociedad had beaten Levante 1-0 on Wednesday, and although it’s likely the Frogs would have put up a better defensive performance, there is also the argument that Barcelona were just very good. There were no goal of the season contenders, and almost every time the ball hit the back of the net it was because the Catalans had outnumbered their opposition. They were a team swimming in confidence, having scored some belters to dispatch with Atleti 3-2 on Thursday.
The matches showed two completely different performances but with the same outcome: success for Barcelona. And maybe this is just the season that no Spanish team can touch the current league leaders, who made Real Sociedad - truly not a bad team - look like a group of amateurs who had never played before. Just like watching the US women’s national team or Lyon rip lesser teams to shreds, we can appreciate the ability of the dominant side whilst being left uncomfortable by the final result.