Barcelona’s women’s team were eliminated from the Super Cup on penalties (3-1) after a draw against Atlético de Madrid. The Catalan team deserved much more after a monologue in Almería.
The games intended by Lluís Cortés always follow the same script, for quality and style, Barcelona can play the role of performance based on their own proposal and have their pieces prepared to dictate how to play. The Catalans came out to the match with their best XI, marked by a 4-3-3 with Paños, Marta, Mapi, Pereira, Leila, Aitana, Patri, Alexia, Hansen, Jenni, Mariona. While Atlético (with a new coach, Sánchez Verá) attempted to counter with a 4-3-3 but in an antagonistic way to the approach of the Catalans.
From the beginning, Barça dominated the game with their favourite resource, the ball. Already in play the drawing changes, Graham fixes on the band and looks for the constant 1 vs 1 offering width and depth to free the centre lanes. Creating chances in the centre and unbalancing on the wing is the constant in this team, with Mariona always looking for superiority in the centre by going down to receive and serve as support and solution, she works as a fourth midfielder and third forward at the same time. Without reference above, Jenni has the freedom and the midfield shortlist is in charge of circulating the ball, occupying spaces and marking the differences through the centre. From behind, both Mapi and Pereira are the initiators of the short and long game, the full-backs are a resource and the support in the search for free space.
The game was a classic Atlético vs Barcelona according to the style of each club. The Madrilenians with a low block waiting for a counter that would give them the chance to enter the game and that’s how it was. An isolated play changed everything, leaving the referee’s decisions that modified the game, the Atlético penalty goal decided the rest. With a goal advantage, Sánchez Vera’s team went to an even lower and almost immovable block with the sole purpose of not conceding.
A genius only at the height of Alexia put Barça into extra time, the greatness of the captain once again showed that Barça does not give up and if they lose, they do so with greatness and the head always held high. In penalties, there was no luck either but a lot of punishment and no prize.
In search of the ‘something else’ that is still missing, the step forward that is lacking when things get complicated and when the rival understands how to defend that style. There is little and nothing to blame the Catalans, only the lack of forcefulness and aggressiveness in the final third, but there is also data that reflects the intention and dominance of Barça: 22 chances created in 120 minutes and still they go back home without a prize.
“You have an incredible fool face because you have done everything you could to win but you have not won.” This is how Lluís Cortés sums it up.
Although it is unfair, attractive football does not always win but this Barcelona team never loses because it has shown that for each time they fall, they get up with twice the strength and their ideas intact. The style is not negotiable.