Barcelona, with a record-breaking Alexia, resists against a revolutionized Atlético | Soccer | Sports
Alexia Putellas had one record left to break. The match with Atlético de Madrid was choking and going uphill, but that mattered little. On the contrary; He was an incentive. Putellas was looking for the goal between the red and white wall, looking to make history again. And he scored the goal that made her Barça’s top scorer with 182 goals – ahead of Jenni Hermoso – in 404 games and 12 seasons. She regained the crown, the throne and sowed a certain calm in the costly 0-1 away victory for the Catalans. Barça, despite the difficulties, was unbeatable. And Alexia, a club legend.
Lola Gallardo, Andrea Medina, Ainhoa Moraza, Carmen Menayo, Merel van Dongen, Sonia Majarín, Estefanía Banini, Leicy Santos, Ana-Maria Crnogorcevic, Sheila Guijarro and Rasheedat Ajibade
Cata Coll, Mapi León, Ona Batlle, Lucy Bronze, Irene Paredes, Keira Walsh, Patri Guijarro, Aitana Bonmatí, Alexia Putellas, Mariona Caldentey and Esmee Brugts
Goals 0-1 min. 51: Alexia Putellas.
Referee Zulema González González
Yellow cards Sonia Majarín (min. 46), Leicy Santos (min. 64) and Eva Navarro (min. 90)
Ana-Maria Crnogorčević met again with her former team. She is now, for the first time, her rival on the field. Now, dressed in red and white. Barely two months had passed since FC Barcelona terminated the last year of her contract. And they met again in a choked match for the Blaugranas, who suffered without the depth and overflow of Rölfo, nor the unbalancing Hansen. They couldn’t find the goal against a united, orderly and serious rival. In the last five games between Barcelona and Atlético, the culés had always won. This time history was repeated, although not on the pitch of the Civitas Metropolitano, and they settled for the Wanda Sports Center in Alcalá de Henares which, with everything sold out, had 2,700 spectators.
Barça was going to win. I had to do it. They were playing to maintain the lead against Real Madrid, and Atlético to remain in the top three. The players under the command of Jonatan Giráldez knew that they had a difficult game, with a rival with a similar proposal, unbalanced players and a good projection and consistency this start of the season compared to previous years. The fifth day should not be difficult for the Blaugranas. But he did it.
And that’s why they were betting on a gala eleven. With the diamond on the pitch – Keira, Patri, Aitana and Alexia as nine – for the first time since the beginning of this season, with Esmee Brugts with the responsibility of trying to make up for Hansen’s absence due to injury on the right wing and with Cata Coll another once as starter, beating Sandra Paños. Crnogorčević hugged his former teammates with a smile before the start. He began to get the ball rolling for Barcelona who, vaguely, looked for some space against a more than awake Atlético. And in front of a Leicy Santos – “sweet”, according to her coach Manolo Cano –, who threw balls to the fast Ajibade to center them for Ana-Maria, who tried with a header, although with little force, before the tenth minute.
Drums and chants encouraged Atlético at home. Barcelona tried to open space on the left with Mariona, Patri and Ona. They insisted and insisted, but there was no way. Neither Mapi León’s centers, nor Patri Guijarro’s omnipresence or Alexia’s insistence could match the seriousness and intensity of the red and whites. The small area was protected by the network of the veteran Van Dongen, Medina, Menayo and Moraza. And sometimes, by Atlético’s eleven players. But the lines went up for Barcelona as the minutes progressed. It increased the speed for the Blaugranas, but also for their rival. Ajibade put fifth gear on the left, and kept trying while he enjoyed haggling. The red and white kept a cool head, conservative, focused on Barcelona not scoring.
The Barça team looked at the clock, wasted no time and stepped on the accelerator before the break. Even with control of the ball, Lola Gallardo’s area was an insurmountable wall. Mapi was bleeding scandalously after a blow to the eyebrow during a corner from his rivals, but he quickly returned with a colorful bandage. She gave instructions as soon as she stepped onto the grass to try to unblock the game. But the break arrived, and there was a lack of speed, shots and goal for so many crosses.
And Barça seemed to know it. The break had served to revitalize Barcelona. Esmme was the one who started the winning play with a through ball. At only 20 years old, she perfectly found an always-present Patri who assisted Alexia, who put the ball in the goal to make history again as Barcelona’s top scorer. After the goal, the season opened. But Alexia asked for calm: the game was not yet in the pocket.
Salma Paralluelo reappeared after her last game in the World Cup, and planted a shot from outside the area that Gallardo caught. Alexia was leaving to make way for Oshoala. And in the last ten minutes, Atlético woke up and went on the counterattack again and again in search of an equalizer. The fuel was infinite. Gallardo raised the last three corner kicks. But they could no longer do anything against Cata Coll. Barça had gone out to win, and they did: captained by Alexia and one of his goals. “Barça is the best team,” said Ana Mari days before the game. And she, on the grass and already on the other side, she checked it again.
You can follow EL PAÍS Deportes in Facebook y Xclick here to receive our weekly newsletter.