Another month down, another couple of wins for FCB Femeni. The team is in smooth sailing towards their second consecutive league title with an otherworldly wins-only season, including 73 goals scored and only 3 conceded. January was a rough month for the Catalan team, however, as they faced multiple match cancellations due to both a freak snowstorm and COVID-19 positives alongside an early Supercopa Femenina exit. Aside from the many downs, there were plenty of positives. FCB Femeni played a history-making match at the Camp Nou, the team’s first competitive match in the iconic stadium, and they dominated in a resounding 5-0 win against local rivals Espanyol Femeni. Later in the month, they smashed Rayo Vallecano Femenino 7-0, and at the end of January, they won the second-ever El Clasico Femenino against Real Madrid, scoring 4 at the Estadi Johan Cruyff.
Given the many iconic moments in this month alone, it was never going to be an easy choice. Plenty of players showed up big this month. Asisat Oshoala seems to have returned to form after a rough few months, scoring four goals and having many quality performances aside from her goalscoring. Melanie Serrano has had one of her best seasons in recent memory, and her performances this month were no exception. But if there was one player who came in clutch and made history, it was Alexia Putellas. She started the year strongly by being the first-ever woman to score a competitive goal at the Camp Nou. Her free kick in the dying minutes of the Supercopa Femenina saved Barcelona from going out in regular time against Atletico Madrid. At the end of the month, she drew first blood in the second-ever Clasico, imposing herself against Los Blancos with relative ease. Aside from her goalscoring, she once again had multiple dominant performances in terms of her assisting, passing, and attacking play. Once again, Alexia Putellas is deservedly our player of the month for January.
Primera Iberdrola – RCD Espanyol Femeni (Camp Nou) (6/1/2021): 5-0
• Minutes: 90
• 1 Goal
January 6th marked a historic day for Barcelona as they entered the Camp Nou pitch for the first time after 50 years. The Blaugranas started the game on a bright note with Alexia dictating the play. At the 4th minute of the game, Alexia had a tame shot at the goal following a cut-back from Melanie Serrano. As the shots racked up in the beginning minutes, it looked like Barca would follow this season’s pattern of scoring an early goal. However, Barca were devoid of any clear cut chances after that, and Espanyol started to grow defensively as time went on.
The second big chance fell to Alexia Putellas in the 43rd minute after a cutback this time from Patri following a beautiful couple of moves inside the box. Again, Alexia’s shot was too weak with her right foot and it found the hands of the goalkeeper. However, Alexia made up for her misses when the turning point of the game came in the 45th minute. During a stoppage-time corner, Alexia raced past the marker to head the ball into the far corner of the net, giving Barca some much-needed breathing room going into the half-time. Barca cruised to victory in the second half with a scoreline of 5-0 after goals from Melanie Serrano, Marta Torrejon, Lieke Martens, and Ana Maria Crnogocevic, which ended any hopes of a comeback for the local rivals.
Spanish Supercopa Femenino: Semi Finals – Atletico Madrid Femenino (A) (13/1/2021): 1-1 ( 3-1 PT)
• Minutes: 120
• Goals: 1
Barca played Atléti in the Spanish Supercup semifinal on January 13th. Both the teams were going into the game after Spain’s freak snowstorm, “Filomena,” canceled all the league’s Madrid-based weekend matches. Atlético Madrid announced the re-hiring of manager Dani Gonzalez on the eve of the matchday, sparking a lot of excitement going into the game. The game followed a similar pattern to that of the one played in August when Barça defeated Las Colchoneras to clinch a spot in the UWCL semifinals. As expected, Atleti defended with 9 women at the back and played long balls to Ludmila whenever they had a chance to counter.
Even though Barcelona dominated the game, they failed to score and paid for their lack of effectiveness when Atléti were awarded a penalty in the 66th minute. Merel van Dongen then converted it to give Madrid the advantage. It looked like everything was lost until the 90th minute when Alexia was brought down at the edge of the box. Although it looked like Barcelona was going to lose in regular time, the midfielder had other ideas and took matters into her own hands. Alexia scored a sublime free-kick past a diving Hedvig Lindahl who, until then, was keeping Barca at bay for 90 excellent minutes. In the end, it was not enough for Barca as they paid the price for not converting their chances, also being kept down by some harsh refereeing decisions not going their way. The Catalans ended up losing to Atléti on penalty kicks and were knocked out of the tournament, thereby missing their first possible title of the year.
Primera Iberdrola – Rayo Vallecano (H) (20/1/2021): 7-0
• Minutes: 72
• Goals: 2
FCB Femeni came into the game after their tough semifinal loss to Atletico Madrid in the Spanish Supercup, hoping to get back into their rhythm. Barça scored an early goal inside 5 minutes after Alexia’s header was parried into the feet of Jennifer Hermoso. After the first goal, it was one-way traffic for the home side as they punctured Rayo’s defense with another 3 goals- Alexia being the catalyst of each of them.
Alexia scored her first goal of the game following Melanie’s cross. She stayed in position and gracefully chipped over the keeper’s head to double Barca’s lead. She remained a key part of the midfield in tracking back and dictating the entirety of the half and scored her second goal following a well-worked team move. In the 40th minute of the game, Asisat Oshoala was sent through by Jennifer Hermoso, and Asisat teed up Caroline Graham-Hansen to score from close range. However, Hansen’s shot was blocked and the ball fell into the path of Alexia for an easy tap-in. Barça easily swept past mid-table Rayo to remain top of the table after the matchday.
Primera Iberdrola – Real Madrid (H) (31/1/2021): 4-1
• Minutes: 87
• Goals: 1
• Second Assists:1
Barça faced their new league rival Real Madrid Femenino in the last game of the month, 11 days after their match against Rayo due to multiple match cancellations. This was expected to be a totally different game compared to their first encounter, as Los Blancos have grown into the league and were occupying the second-place position at the time. All the match previews indicated that Real Madrid were in great form, recording only 3 losses in 15 games, with a much more balanced and cohesive team than their first game against the Blaugranas. Additionally, if the team from Spain’s capital won at the Estadi Johan Cruyff, they would’ve gone to the top of the league.
The match started with Real Madrid and Barcelona both going on the offense and trying to assert themselves. Despite Madrid entering the match bravely and attacking well, Barcelona scored first just 14 minutes into the match. Once again, it was the captain, Alexia Putellas, who kicked it off for the Catalan team. Alexia was intuitive in collecting the ball at the edge of the box and scoring a blistering strike to the top left of the net that Misa Rodriguez struggled to get a hand on. From then, it was a similar pattern as the first Clásico, and Barça advanced to a 3 goal lead by the end of the first half. The match proved that Madrid’s women have improved a lot, but they were never a match to the 2019-20 champions as Barca ran out winners 4-1 at the end of full-time.
When Alexia is fit and firing, there isn’t a way to stop her from creating chances and scoring goals. After her breakout out season last year, she’s continued her form and is having yet another world-class season. Alexia only continues to get better and better, and with a lot of important competitions in the next few months, her performances will be integral to the success of the club.
Barcelona Femení vs Real Madrid Femenino: Match Review
Barça Universal reviews Barcelona Femení’s 4-1 win over Real Madrid Femenino as they solidify their place on top of the table even further.
Mariona · Alexia · Jenni · Graham
Leila · Leon · Pereira · Torrejon
Teresa · Oroz · Marta
Thaisa · Kaci
Carmona · Andres · Babett · Nobles
Barcelona had a relatively slow start to the game, with plenty of their passes either failing to meet their target, or them finding their way onto the feet of overcrowded players. Real Madrid’s press was too tough for Barça to handle, but once Barca got into their groove, they got into the lead.
Andrea Pereira won a free kick within Madrid’s half and was perfectly poised to create a goal-scoring opportunity. She played the ball into Jennifer Hermoso’s path, and she then delivered it to Alexia Putellas, who skipped past her marker and unleashed a sumptuous strike into the back of the net from the edge of the box.
Madrid tried to recover, implementing an even stronger press, however, it was precisely that, on their opponents’ front, that led to the second goal. With Los Blancos struggling to cope, they lost the ball and Leila Ouahabi instantaneously set Asisat Oshoala free. She made a darting run into the box, forcing a save from the goalkeeper, only for Jenni Hermoso to pounce on the loose ball and double the lead.
While their opponents were attempting to play out the back, the Blaugranas‘ forwards forced their Madrid counterparts into playing long balls. Their attempted ball found itself at María León’s feet, and she instantly played the ball towards Alexia. The Spaniard let Graham Hansen, who up until then had been a menace in Madrid’s half, loose with not a defender in sight. Once in the box, she squared the ball to Asisat Oshoala, who turned two to three, ending the half on a high.
Graham nearly made it four late into the half, and Los Merengues also struggled to find respite through a goal, but the scoreline rested at 3-0, as the referee blew her whistle for half time.
Half Time: Barcelona 3-0 Real Madrid
As was the case with the opening 45 minutes, Barcelona had a sluggish start to the second half. It took just about ten minutes for them to get going, but once they did, it came as a surprise that they failed to score. Graham Hansen manoeuvred her way through her hosts’ defence, slicing them open like a knife through butter. Once at the box, she played a cutback to Oshoala, whose shot struck the underside of the crossbar despite her being in point-blank range.
For the next 15 minutes, Barça were second best to their visitors. They lost many of the second balls, failed to control the pressure they were put under, and this resulted in them conceding chances in the left flank through Sofia Jakobsson.
Rather undeservingly, the Garnet and Blue extended their lead. Patri Guijarro played a hard cross into the box which was poorly met by her Nigerian counterpart, however as a result of a defensive mistake on Madrid’s part through Babett Peter, the brilliant Oshoala got her second chance and scored a simple tap in.
The game took a turn for the worse, with the referee brandishing two red cards in quick succession. Real Madrid’s goalkeeper Misa Rodríguez committed a handball offence outside the box in an attempt to stop Oshoala’s shot from outside the box on one end and in the other, once again as a result of a Sofia Jakobsson run into the box, Maria León received her second booking of the afternoon, resulting in her getting sent off as well.
Olga Carmona took the subsequent penalty reducing the deficit to a more respectable three-goal margin. However, it was too little too late as Barcelona ran out 4-1 winners in the Clásico, thus keeping the bragging rights.
Full Time: Barcelona 4-1 Real Madrid