2021/22 in Pictures: Game 22

This was supposed to be Games 22, 23 and 24 but an unwelcome throwback to 2020, namely games being cancelled due to Covid-19, wiped out a promising afternoon of action close to home on the 19th.

So the last update of 2021 is just Game 22. Luckily enough it was a decent one…

Game 2️⃣2️⃣

⚽️ Real Madrid Femenino 1-3 Barcelona Femení

🏟 Estadio Alfredo Di Stéfano, Madrid

🏆 Primera Iberdrola

📅 12.12.2021

💶 €8

Appropriately enough, my 22nd game of the season saw a stellar performance from a player wearing the number 22 shirt.

A few days before being presented with the awkwardly named “Golden Player Woman” award by Italian sports paper Tuttosport, Barcelona’s Dutch forward Lieke Martens lit up the Estadio Alfredo Di Stéfano with two first half goals.

Not that I saw the first one. I went to Chamartín station, expecting to hop on the Cercanias and get to the stadium nice and early, but a number of unexplained cancellations on the line going to the airport (passing through Valdebebas on the way) left me and numerous other match goers stranded.

I ended up arriving at Valdebebas just after the scheduled kick off time and while walking down to the entrance, heard the cheers that greeted Martens’ opener. After a fairly lengthy wait as tickets were checked at the entrance, I just about managed to take my seat in time to see Irene Paredes’ towering header from Martens’ corner double Barcelona’s advantage.

Soon enough it was 3-0, Martens racing onto a perfectly weighted through ball and curling her shot into the top corner. There were only 23 minutes on the clock and the game was as good as over.

Kosovare Asllani has been hugely missed by Real Madrid this season following an injury-plagued start to the season, but her neat finish gave las blancas some hope early in the second half and although it didn’t amount to a comeback, they could be reasonably pleased with their efforts. Not many teams win a half against this Barça team.

Are Barcelona so good that a comfortable 3-1 away victory can almost be described as a disappointment? Don’t be silly. There was always the feeling that, had they needed to, they could have stepped up again and really hammered home their superiority.

It’s still early days for this version of the historic rivalry, but we know for sure that we’ll be treated to another three meetings this season, the return league fixture and a Women’s Champions League quarter-final tie as well!

Amenities Watch: An improvement from last time at least, there were people going round selling bottles of water at half time. Unfortunately there are still no other facilities on site for supporters.

Match Rating: 7.5/10 – All too easy for Barcelona in the first half. At least Real Madrid made them work a bit more after the break, but it still seemed like they didn’t have to get out of second gear.

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