Two European powerhouses in the women’s game, Manchester City WFC and Atlético de Madrid Women, squared off in the Women’s International Champions Cup in Cary, NC. Both teams were playing in their second and last game of a four-team, two-match series. Tonight’s match would decide the third-place winner.
Atlético showed in the first few minutes that they intended on playing their game by pressing and keeping the ball. City Ladies quickly started to show that they were willing to match Atlético’s intensity and started to possess the ball, looking to attack down the wings. After an even first 15 minutes, Atlético Madrid started to take an edge in the middle of the field.
Madrid’s Ángela Sosa was dangerous going forward and looked at ease whenever in possession. Man City’s Jill Scott and Caroline Weir were constantly combining in the middle and stretching the field when attacking. Their linkup play paid off when Lauren Hemp found the back of the net in the 22′ minute to make it 1-0. She reacted brilliantly to intercepting a weak pass and didn’t make any mistake 1v1 with the keeper. Atlético continued to play their game and had a sense of trust that they would get back into the game.
Atlético Madrid came out in the second half with a sense of belief and was pressing, winning the ball back, and attacking. Atlético tied things up in the 58′ minute through Virginia Torrecilla off a Sosa free kick on the left side of the box which made it 1-1.
Madrid’s midfield looked stronger in the first 10 minutes and it would pay off in the 63′ minute when Sosa picked up the ball outside of the 18-yard box and made City pay for not closing her down in time. Sosa fired a rocket in the roof of the net to increase their lead to 2-1. They continued to dominate the middle and showed a near-perfect attack and defense.
City absorbed the pressure and stuck with their game plan, believing that they would get back into the game. The citizens would regain control of the game by keeping the ball and attacking Atlético on the wings which paid off when Janine Beckie tied things up in the 83′ minute with a superb finish after Walsh played a brilliant pass in the Box.
At 2-2 the game looked to be over until deep into extra time where City found the game-winner through Tessa Wullaert. In the 93′ minute, Wullaert turned and Atlético defender in the box and rifled a left-footed shot in the right side of the net leaving the keeper without a chance.
After the final whistle, it would be Manchester City Women winning third place in the Women’s ICC after defeating Atlético Madrid Femenino 3-2.
Photo: Courtesy of Manchester City Women Social Media