Real Madrid Femenino vs FC Barcelona Femení
Contest/Round: UEFA Women’s Champions League, Quarterfinals, Leg 1
Barcelona Outs & Doubts: Lieke Martens, Asisat Oshoala, Mariona Caldentey, Ana-Maria Crnogorcevic, Jana Fernández, Cata Coll, Bruna Vilamala (out)
Real Madrid Outs & Doubts: Marta Cardona, Kosovare Asllani, Aurélie Kaci, Marta Corredera (doubt)
Date/Time: Tuesday, March 22, 2022, 9pm CET/WAT (Barcelona & Nigeria), 8pm GMT (UK), 4pm ET, 1pm PT (USA), 1.30am IST (India, Wednesday)
Venue: Estadio Alfredo Di Stéfano, Madrid, Spain
Referee: Lina Lehtovaara (FIN)
VAR: João Pinheiro (POR)
How to watch: DAZN’s YouTube channel
Following an intriguing end of the week off to rest and set up, Barcelona’s all-vanquishing ladies’ group gets back to activity when they travel to the Spanish capital for the eagerly awaited beginning of their UEFA Women’s Champions League quarterfinal attach with Real Madrid, with the first leg taking place Tuesday night at the Estadio Alfredo Di Stéfano.
After the men’s team absolutely destroyed Madrid in a memorable El Clásico on Sunday, it is time for the ladies to take center stage. The second leg of this tie will take place next week at what is expected to be a full Camp Nou, and that is the game everyone is really looking forward to. But the first leg has to be played first, and it is just as crucial.
But even though this is El Clásico, there is only one favorite in this tie: Barça have been literally perfect this season, winning every single one of the 34 games they have played in all competitions, scoring 174 goals and conceding just 8.
Once again for the people in the back: 34 games, 34 wins, 174 goals scored, 8 goals conceded.
(Yes, those numbers are real.)
Jonatan Giráldez replaced the great Lluís Cortés and somehow made a team that won the first-ever women’s Treble last season even better. Barça dominate possession even more, attack with more players, score more goals and defend at a higher level. This is quite simply the greatest season in the history of women’s football so far and it already features two trophies, but this team knows this campaign won’t be an absolute success if they don’t defend their European crown.
The competition for the UWCL is fierce, with French powerhouses Paris Saint-Germain and Lyon looking very strong again. But the Blaugrana remain favorites, and they will look to make a statement in the two legs against Madrid and move on to the semi-finals.
Las Blancas won’t go down without a fight, though, and they almost became the only team not to lose to Barça this season in a hard-fought Spanish Super Cup semi-final back in January. Barça’s team is also banged up, missing seven first team players through injury and three key attackers in Lieke Martens, Asisat Oshoala and Mariona Caldentey.
But they have the world’s greatest player, captain Alexia Putellas, who has been in spectacular form in recent weeks and single-handely won the game the last time these two teams faced, 10 days ago, when Barça won 5-0 at home to clinch the Primera División title.
Alexia looks hungry and sharp, and the whole team will follow her lead. Barça will have the ball and attack all night, and if they can take their chances and control a dangerous Madrid counter-attack they’ll take a big lead back home to what will be an incredible atmosphere at the Greatest Stadium on Earth.
Men’s football is in an international break, and this game is on primetime and free on YouTube. There’s literally no reason or excuse to miss it. Let’s all support the greatest women’s team of all time and watch them win another Clásico. We all know how good that feels.
Barcelona (4-3-3): Paños; Marta, Pereira, Mapi, Leila; Hermoso, Patri, Alexia; Graham, Rolfö, Aitana
Real Madrid (4-4-2): Misa; Robles, Peter, Ivana, Carmona; Athenea, Kaci, Teresa, Maite; Esther, Nahikari
If you’ve never watched Barça Femení before, you’re in for a treat: 4-0 to the good ladies, and a celebration next week at a full Camp Nou.