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The 4850 fans at the Estadí Johan Cruyff to see FC Barcelona defeat Atlético Madrid 4-0 may have watched the win that will see them crowned Liga F champions for the fourth time in a row should Real Madrid lose away to Real Betis tomorrow.
On paper this could have been a difficult fixture, as Atlético Madrid arrived undefeated in their last 12 league matches and are also the last side to beat Barça way back in June 2021, who have gone on to win all 59 league games since. Coach Jonatan Giráldez made six changes from the 2-0 win away to Alhama, star striker Ludmila was still missing for the visitors.
Barça started brightly, forcing 2 early corners, with both Vicky López and Geyse looking lively. The game subsequently settled down somewhat with Atlético building from the back, trying to deny the home side possession, before dropping balls behind their defence. One such ball on 20 minutes saw Paños out quickly to deal with the danger, before she collected the resulting corner with great authority.
There was little to choose between the sides at this point, and the breakthrough came somewhat out of nothing albeit via some quality football. Rolfö switched play from left to right with a long ball over to Graham Hansen who collected and passed in field to the arriving Aitana who opened up her body to finish superbly into the left side of the goal to make it 1-0 after 28 minutes.
Barça were now in their stride, Vicky López making driving runs from midfield and Geyse showing some great hold up play, but no further goals were added before the break.
Early strike sets the second half tone
The referee had only just got the second half underway when the second goal came. The Atlético defence failed to deal with a chipped ball by Geyse that rebounded nicely to Vicky López, who hammered in a left foot shot high past Gallardo in the visitors’ goal. 2-0, but only three shots on target at that point.
The goal seemed to embolden Barça and Aitana began to run proceedings, some neat interplay with Geyse seeing her flash a ball across the box just out of the Brazilian’s reach, before the Catalan ran clear only for Gallardo to foil both her and a subsequent long shot by Torrejón.
Another great turn by Aitana saw her carry the ball from inside her own half to the edge of the penalty area before slipping it to Graham Hansen to her right who cut inside and curled a left foot shot into the left side of the goal, having threatened to do just that several times earlier in the game, 3-0 (57 mins).
With the lead now comfortable, Jonatan Giráldez completely changed the forward line and Barça continued to push for more goals. One of the substitutes, Bruna, who recently extended her stay at FC Barcelona, saw a shot deflected over on 76 minutes before Mapi Leon was fouled after the resulting corner. It looked to be inside the box on the replay but the referee gave a free kick on the edge of the area, and substitute Mariona was extremely unfortunate to hit the crossbar with Gallardo rooted to the spot.
Atlético were forced to play with 10 for the last 7 mins due to injury after having made five subs earlier in the game, and in the final minute of the 90, Bruna crossed in from the left for Aitana to touch in her second for 4-0, adding to her assist and capping a fine performance all round.
Final score 4-0, and attention now turns to Seville tomorrow, where defeat for Real Madrid at Real Betis would see FC Barcelona crowned Liga F champions once again. Next up though is a trip to London to take on Chelsea in the Women’s Champions League semi-final in a week’s time on 22 April (kickoff 1.30pm CEST).
Atlético Madrid, 0
Barça: Sandra Paños, Marta Torrejón, Irene Paredes (Bronze, min 72), Mapi León, Rolfö, Walsh (Engen, min 72), Patri Guijarro, Aitana, Hansen (Crnogorcevic, min 63), Geyse (Bruna, min 63) and Vicky López (Mariona, min 63)
Atlético Madrid: Lola Gallardo, Pérez (Lundkvist, min 64), Cinta, Menayo, Moraza (Medina, min 76), Sheila, Irene Guerrero (Navarro, min 64), Maitane, Banini, Ajibade (Latorre, min 76) and Lucía Moral (Staskova, min 46)
Goals: 1-0, Aitana (min 28); 2-0, Vicky López (min 47); 3-0, Hansen (min 57); Aitana (min 89)
Referee: Gallastegui Perez. Yellow cards for Lucía Moral (min 44), Lundkvist (min 76), and Eva Navarro (min 80) from Atlético Madrid.
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