Real Madrid compete in Barcelona defeat, but goal drought goes on
Real Madrid boss Alberto Toril praised his team’s display at the Estadi Johan Cruyff, but Las Blancas have now gone nearly 300 minutes with scoring.
Real Madrid have only lost by a one-goal margin in two out of 11 Clásicos; in the remaining nine, they’ve been beaten by two, three, four and even five.
While it was Alexia Putellas’ last-gasp winner that tipped the balance in January 2022′s Spanish Super Cup semi-final, on Saturday it was Fridolina Rolfö who got the game’s only goal, with 15 minutes to go, converting a penalty earned by Salma Paralluelo. Although the Super Cup tie remained all square for longer, it was actually this weekend’s clash that was the more even of the two, in terms of both overall play and match stats. Barça had six shots on target to Madrid’s two, compared with 11 and one, respectively, 14 months ago. Nevertheless, Las Blancas’ competitive display couldn’t prevent them from setting their longest ever streak without scoring. It’s now 290 minutes since Alberto Toril’s side found the net.
Real Madrid boss lauds Clásico performance
The fact remains, though, that Madrid did go toe-to-toe with the all-powerful Barcelona, who haven’t lost in the Spanish league since June 2021 and are undefeated at the Estadi Johan Cruyff, the stadium they now call home. “We gave a really good account of ourselves,” a satisfied Toril told reporters post-match. “There were times when we played at a really high level, higher even than Barça.” Maite Oroz’s inclusion in the Madrid line-up, at the expense of Athenea del Castillo, gave the visitors a greater capacity to keep the ball and take some of the sting out of their arch rivals’ play in central areas. The final possession count was 57% in the away team’s favour.
Toril blasts penalty decision
Once Athenea got on the pitch, as a second-half substitute, the winger took centre stage when she was adjudged to have fouled Paralluelo in the penalty area. She couldn’t believe it; neither could her coach. “When I saw it live, I didn’t think it was a penalty, and now we’ve watched the replays, I think everyone can see that it shouldn’t have been given,” Toril told Madrid’s in-house media team. He added: “The final result is a shame, but we’re happy. We’re getting closer and closer.”
“We can hold our heads up high,” goalkeeper Misa Rodríguez told her Madrid team-mates on Instagram, in a post that spoke of her “pride” at the shift her side put in. Las Blancas were “back on form” in Catalonia, Rodríguez also declared.
When was Real Madrid’s last goal?
Madrid last scored in the 100th minute of their extra-time Copa de la Reina win over Villarreal just over two weeks ago. Since then, they have drawn 0-0 with Atlético Madrid, lost 1-0 to Granadilla Tenerife, and now gone down by the same scoreline in the Clásico. Since the inception of Madrid’s women’s team in 2020, they had never previously gone three full games without a goal.
It’s a drought that is also reflected in the stats of the team’s chief attacking figures. Caroline Weir hasn’t netted since 4 March, and is on only her second four-game goalless run since joining the club. The Scot also went through such a barren patch in November, during another tough sequence of games: against Villarrea, Barcelona, Sporting Huelva and Chelsea. Esther González, Madrid’s top scorer this season, is without a goal since 8 March: three games. And, like Weir, Athenea - who is the side’s third-highest scorer - hasn’t found the target since 4 March. 11th-placed Levante Las Planas, who visit the Estadio Alfredo di Stéfano on 31 March, could be just the kind of opposition Madrid need to get the goals-for column ticking over once more.