A new season, a new Atlético Madrid and what they hoped would be another tough test for rivals FC Barcelona this past weekend. Unfortunately, last season’s 4-3 win was not in the books for the hosts as they truly struggled to test the champions and succumbed to a 3-0 defeat.
From the very beginning Barcelona were intent to show that last season’s loss would not be repeated this time around as they bypassed Atlético’s press with ease and forced Lola Gallardo into multiple saves from the first whistle on.
Caroline Graham Hansen, the best player on the pitch in my opinion, had the beating of Carmen Menayo whenever she went at her and Asisat Oshoala gave the hosts fits every time she was in and around the area. Another player who shone brightly against the hosts was Aitana Bonmatí. Once Barcelona had adjusted to how Atlético were trying to shut down their usual runs, Bonmatí made an in-game adjustment which saw her find space in between the lines and thus, free up Alexia Putellas and Patri Guijarro to take control of the midfield.
One could say that since it took Barcelona 70 minutes to make it 2-0, Atlético had shown a firm resistance to the Blaugranas movement but that isn’t the case. Gallardo was immense for most of the game and had to pull out some strong saves to keep the game as tight as it was. Barcelona also fluffed their lines a few times in front of goal where a more clinical pass or finish would’ve made the scoreline match their dominance. In the end, Barcelona found the goal that would finish off the game as a contest and keep them firmly in the lead for another title.
The home side almost took the lead themselves in the 34th minute when an errant touch by Ana-Maria Crnogorčević in her own half gifted the ball to Bárbara Latorre who then found Ludmilla unmarked at the top of the box. Barcelona quickly closed down the Brazilian however her effort bounced off a defender and off the crossbar before falling kindly into Sandra Paños’ arms. Barcelona were grateful for that small bit of luck and made sure to take advantage of it immediately. The ball was quickly moved forward by Barcelona and Graham Hansen glided by a few defenders before cutting the ball back to Oshoala. Merel van Dongen couldn’t move her feet quickly enough to clear the ball and Oshoala reacted fastest to pass the ball into an empty net.
The second half saw a similar pattern to the first except now with the lead, Barcelona were more comfortable in their passing patterns and any time Atlético tried to spring forward quickly, Mapi León was there to make a crucial interception. The game ended as a contest in the 70th minute when Aitana Bonmatí got Barcelona’s second. Once again, the away side moved the ball quickly across the penalty area and Bonmatí slipped as she took her shot but she had put enough placement on it to guide it past Gallardo.
Graham Hansen was key once again to Barcelona’s way to goal in the 74th minute when she ran at Silvia Meseguer and played an inch perfect pass to Lieke Martens, who was running into the area. It was no more than Barcelona had deserved and they once again stamped their authority on this league with a statement win in Madrid.
- Real Sociedad are the surprise package of the season so far as they won against Rayo Vallecano and thus, matched Barcelona win for win six games into the season. Sanni Franssi put Sociedad ahead in the 23rd minute and Amaiur Sarriegi made it two for the vistors two minutes later. Slađana Bulatović got one back for Rayo in the 27th minute but Sarriegi, who has been in scintillating form this season, scored Sociedad’s third and that’s how it remained for the rest of the match. Real Sociedad sit in second right now, tied on points with Barcelona but below them due to goal difference. Rayo remain near the bottom of the table and need to find points from somewhere again soon or face relegation.
- Much of the focus would have been on the Atléti-Barca match but Madrid CFF and Real Betis served up a nine-goal thriller over the weekend. Geyse scored four foals, Mari Paz Vilas got herself a brace, and Lucía León, Gabi Nunes and Ángela Sosa all got on the scoresheet as well. The defending may not have been spectacular but Geyse took full advantage of the opportunities she got and put in a player of the match performance to help Madrid CFF win this game. Madrid CFF are in sixth while Betis slid down to eleventh after their loss this weekend.
- After losing their previous match in the Primera Iberdrola, Levante UD got back to winning ways again against Valencia CF. Alba Redondo scored the only goal of the game just before half time and neither team found the back of the net after that. Valencia’s miserable start to the season continues as they stay rooted to the bottom of the league due to this result while Levante are now in fifth.
- David Aznar will be breathing a huge sigh of relief this weekend as his team finally got their first win of the season. Real Madrid CF have been in shocking form this season and while they have had a lot of injuries to key players, their league play just hasn’t been good enough. This weekend against SD Eibar however, the hosts did just enough to earn a 2-1 win. Miriam Rodriguez shocked Madrid early on with a goal in 18th minute but Caroline Møller, earning her first start of the campaign, got the hosts back on level terms in the 31st minute. Rocío Gálvez then scored what proved to be the winner in the 58th minute and thus helped her team move up the table into 13th place. Eibar remain in ninth, an acceptable position so far this season but will not want to keep dropping points less they get dragged down into the relegation battle below them.
- Sevilla CF and Athletic Club both couldn’t find the back of the net during their encounter. Athletic will probably be the more disappointed of the two with just one point but they sit in fourth and will look to build on that. Sevilla are in eighth and while that’s an acceptable place for them to be in, one win in six isn’t great reading for any fans of the team.
- It may not have been a 9-1 drubbing this time around for Deportivo Alavés but a 0-0 draw at home against Sporting Club de Huelva was probably not what they wouldn’t liked either. It was a fairly dull affair with no real quality on show but Sporting will take the point as it lifts them into twelfth and further away from the relegation zone. Alavés now sit in seventh after their recent poor form and will look to find winning ways again soon.