2020/21 in Pictures: Games 35 and 36

Two very different games at opposite ends of the spectrum in Madrid as I visit a new ground in the Preferente and witness history in the Copa de la Reina Final at Butarque.

Game 3️⃣5️⃣

⚽️ AD Colmenar Viejo 0-2 CF San Agustín del Guadalix

🏟 Campo de Fútbol Alberto Ruiz, Colmenar Viejo

🏆 Madrid Preferente Group 1

📅 23.5.2021

💶 €5

Segunda B may have finished and the remaining games in the Tercera may be pretty much academic, but there is still all to play for in the Preferente.

All the promotion spots for next season’s Tercera are still up for grabs and it looks likely to go downtown the wire.

In this local derby of sorts, both teams were on the fringes of the promotion places, with Colmenar having just suffered a setback in losing to leaders Galapagar midweek.

They were mostly on the front foot during the first half, although there wasn’t too much for either goalkeeper to worry about. San Agustín’s momentum was disrupted by a lengthy stoppage due to an injury and the tactical reshuffle that it necessitated. Although with no stretcher available, it did mean we were treated to the sight of the physio giving the injured player a piggy-back off the field.

The game continued in a similar pattern after the break with Colmenar pushing for the opener, but one incisive counter-attack from the visitors changed the entire complexion of the game.

Suddenly needing two goals to keep their promotion push alive, Colmenar threw caution to the wind, but as San Agustín’s defence held firm, they had more and more chances to counter and they eventually added a second to seal a win which took them above their opponents in the table.

Bar Watch: There’s a good bar in one of the corners of the pitch which has the added advantage of a terrace with views of the pitch. Very good lomo sandwich too.

Shop Watch: There was no merchandise on sale. I did ask about scarves but after one man went and had a look in the club office, I received the sad news that they didn’t have any. Maybe next season… Colmenar do have a pretty cool home kit too, think Rayo Vallecano but with red sleeves and made by Kappa.

Match Rating: 7/10 – A solidly entertaining game.

Game 3️⃣6️⃣

⚽️ Barcelona Femení 4-2 Levante Femenino

🏟 Estadio Municipal de Butarque, Leganés

🏆 Copa de la Reina Final

📅 30.5.2021

💶 €15

Already Primera Iberdrola Champions and winners of the UEFA Women’s Champions League, the Copa de la Reina Final was all that stood between Barcelona Femení and a historic treble.

The final was played at Butarque, which gave me the chance to return to one of my favourite grounds in Madrid for the first time since last January – sadly Super Pepino was nowhere to be seen.

The first half was something of a masterclass from Barça, in the first half hour the game was almost entirely played in Levante’s half of the field, they were pushed so far back that they had no options to look for when clearing the ball, meaning the Barcelona defenders would gratefully receive the ball and start yet another attack.

This almost constant pressure produced three goals in the first half hour – all from assists by Dutch winger Lieke Martens. First Patri Guijarro headed in from a corner on six minutes, then Alexia Putellas doubled the lead, getting to a cross just ahead of Levante goalkeeper María Valenzuela on 20. Martens completed her hat-trick of assists with a quick free kick which was flicked in by Marta Torrejón. And that appeared to be that…

After the break, Barça’s domination continued but just before the hour mark, Alba Redondo pulled a goal back for Levante, beating the offside trap before taking the ball round Barça goalkeeper Cata Coll and slotting past the covering defender on the line. A mere consolation, or so thought most people in the stadium…

When Barcelona failed to clear their lines after Esther Gonzalez’s shot and Estefanía Banini fired in a second off the post on 67 minutes, Levante suddenly had belief and Barça were no longer looking invincible and we seemed set for a thrilling conclusion.

But one moment of class from the brilliant Alexia Putellas put paid to that. Her second goal of the night came from a poor attempt at playing out from the back by Levante, she pressured a defender into giving up the ball and sidestepped around a couple of feeble challenges before slotting home the clinching goal.

Esther wasted a good chance from a free header to reduce the lead to a single goal again, while brilliant work from Martens put the ball on a plate for Ana-Maria Crnogorčević, but the Swiss defender his the post from point-blank range and the ball somehow rebounded to safety.

All that remained was Barcelona’s coronation (annoyingly the podium was set up facing away from the vast majority of fans in the ground) and lap of honour with their third trophy of a remarkable season.

Bar Watch: Sadly neither the bar nor any of Butarque’s food and drink stalls were open for the game.

Shop Watch: The Legastore did appear to be open but was surrounded by so many people I didn’t bother to pay it a visit.Around on my side of the ground there was a stall selling scarves and flags for both teams and Leganés. Given the rapid turnaround between the semis and final there mustn’t have been enough time to get commemorative half-and-half scarves made up.

Match Rating: 8/10 – A mostly sublime performance by Barça, aside from the brief period Levante made it a serious contest.I’m glad I was able to see them play in this record breaking season after missing out back in January due to Storm Filomena.

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