Barcelona faced Madrid CFF at Estadi Johan Cruyff. With the international break coming up, Luis Cortes decided to rest some of the key players in the likes of Lieke Martens, Oshoala, Patri, Aitana and Andrea Pereira. It wasn’t a fluent display from Barcelona which might be partly due to the Queen’s Cup match they played midweek. But, thanks to Jenni’s hat-trick Barca came out with a comfortable 5-0 victory.
Barcelona XI Madrid CFF
Sandra Panos (GK) Jimernez
Mapi Leon Izquierdo
Marta Torrejon Silva
Alexia Putellas Wold
Kheira Hamraoui Jang
Vicky Losada Alvarez
Ana Maria Crnogorcevic Chikwelu
Caroline Graham Hansen Martinez
Stefanie van der Gragt Mrabet
Mariona Caldentey Rojo
Jennifer Hermoso da Silva
Barca deployed a 4-1-4-1 formation matching Madrid CFF. Vicky started for the first time after recovering from her latest injury with Kheira anchoring the midfield after her heroics against Deportivo. Stefanie got some value minutes prior to the international break partnering Map at the center of defense. Ana Maria Crnogorcevic start as the left-back giving Leila some valuable rest.
Barca dominated the first half as expected. There was some sloppiness at the start and they were lacking the cohesiveness in the build-up play. The first chance of the match fell to Ana Maria in the 8th with her powerful shot parried away by the keeper for the corner.
Most of Barca’s attacking threat came via the right-wing thanks to Caro’s amazing dribbling skills. She kept bamboozling the defense with ease whenever she was on the ball.
The first goal of the match came from a wonderfully lofted cross from Caro which fall into the path of Jenni to put the ball into the back of the net.
Crnogorcevic’s effectiveness came into play again at the 23rd minute when her shot hit the right top corner of the post. Barcelona were playing some intricate football for the next 10 minutes. And for their efforts, they got the second goal thanks to an exquisite header from the Captain, Vicky Losada following a cross from the ever-present Caroline Graham Hansen.
Barca’s play wasn’t exciting but ended with a comfortable lead of 2-0 at the end of the first half. There were sloppiness and bad passes in the middle of the pitch leading to quick counter-attacks that weren’t futile. Sandra Panos remained a spectator for most of the first half.
Barcelona started from where they left the first half. Jenni got her second in the 50th minutes latching on to a defensive error and chipping the ball past the goalkeeper.
Barca got the better of Madrid again with a counter-attack in the 55thminute from the right side of the flank using Hansen’s pace. Vicky Losada received the ball at the edge of the box and sent a curler which was a whisker away from getting inside the net.
Caro finally got her well deserved rest when she was substituted in the 57th minute with Candela replacing her. There was this moment in the second half where Barca’s defense cut into half with a quick counter. Thanks to Stef’s reading of the game, it was cleared with no danger.
Much of the second followed the same pattern adding to Jenni’s goals tally and Stefanie’s goal at the very end of the game making it sweet.
There wasn’t much to take away from this game with key players getting some well-earned rest. Jenni racing towards collecting another Golden Boot. Stef getting some precious minutes in the middle. We can say that there is going to be exciting times ahead for this Barcelona side,
Hermoso (21'), Losada (30'), Hermoso (51'), Hermoso (73'), Stephanie van der Gragt (94')
With a lot of international games coming up in the next few days and a busy stretch of matches in March- April, exciting times ahead.
How Cortes is going to manage the fatigue and workload remains the key for Barca in winning a Spanish Treble and deciding their fate in the Champions League.
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