After a couple of quiet weeks brought about by increasing restrictions in Madrid forcing most football back behind closed doors again, I finally got to continue my season.
⚽️ Madrid CFF 0-1 Espanyol Femení
🏟 Estadio Nuevo Matapiñonera, San Sebastián de los Reyes
🏆 Primera Iberdrola
💶 Free (Press Access)
This is the first game that I’ve ever covered in a professional capacity in Spain, as part of my writing about Primera Iberdrola for Football España.
Fortunately the process of applying for accreditation with Madrid CFF was relatively straightforward and so with a Track and Trace form for Covid-19 filled out, I headed to San Sebastián de los Reyes on Sunday morning.
The stand was sparsely populated until just before kick off, when it filled up with club officials and substitutes from both sides, just as the players made their way out separately for socially-distanced team photos.
Given that they’ll come into much closer contact during the match, I don’t really see the point of this, but it’s an interesting snapshot of football in this current climate.
Madrid made the better start of the two sides, albeit without really testing Espanyol’s American goalkeeper Kelsey Dossey.
Espanyol came into this match on the back of a defeat to Atlético Madrid in their opening game, something they had become all too familiar with over the previous year. Last season, they finished bottom of the table, picking up only five points and failing to win a single game all year. You had to go back as far as 5th May 2019 for the last time they celebrated a league victory.
But it looked like this might be their lucky day as they grew into the game after a slow start and took the lead when Manuela Vanegas headed in from a corner on 27 minutes.
They consistently posed a threat on the break but as the second half progressed they were gradually pushed back by their hosts, who threw everything they had at them to try and get an equaliser. After such a long, demoralising run, surely Espanyol would buckle under the pressure?
The game became increasingly ragged as it entered its final stages, both sides were reduced to ten players and as they were forced into the back foot, Espanyol’s substitutes in the stand took on the role of the supporters, urging them on and mentally kicking and heading every ball with one player even burying her head in her hands, unable to watch as the hosts lined up a late free kick.
The final whistle was greeted with great celebration from the Espanyol side. 525 days later, they finally had that winning feeling again and reason to believe their miserable run last season was firmly in the past.
Shop Watch: As no fans were allowed at the game there was obviously no shop or merchandise stall. Maybe later in the season.
Bar Watch: As above – no fans, no reason to open the bar.
Match Rating: 6.5/10. Not a classic by any means between two sides likely to be fighting it out in the bottom half of the Primera Iberdrola this season. Espanyol won’t care though, after 525 days without a win, they’ll take whatever they can!