Atlético Femenino triumph in Spanish Supercup
Atletico Madrid’s women’s team added another trophy to its cabinet last Saturday, claiming its maiden Spanish Supercup in style via a 3-0 win over Levante in the final.
In what was a spectacular four-team tournament, Atlético had to overcome Barcelona in the semifinal to advance. It seemed a tough ask for the Colchoneras given they not defeated the Catalan side in their past nine encounters, including last summer’s UEFA Women’s Champions League quarterfinal.
José Luis Sánchez Vera, who was at the helm during the 2018/2019 league title, replaced Dani González as the head coach before the match — though Atlético confirmed González will remain linked to the club.
The team looked galvanised, and against Barcelona staged a tenacious performance, pulling ahead via a Merel van Dongen goal before Alexia Putellas levelled terms just before the final whistle.
With the stalemate progressing through extra time, the winner had to be determined through a penalty shoot-out, where Barcelona missed three of their four penalties. Alia Guagni’s decisive kick sent Atlético to the final.
Prior to the Supercopa commitment, Atlético had reinforced their squad with numerous arrivals, who all took part in the tournament in Almería. France midfielder Aminata Diallo, 25, joined the club from Paris Saint-Germain, while 21-year-old Rasheedat Ajibade joined from Norway’s Avaldsnes. Ajibade plays for the Nigeria national team as well.
The newcomer who left an immediate mark on the team was Cameroon’s Njova Ajara Nchout. She joined the capital club from Norwegian side Vålerenga. Nchout’s best characteristics are her power and intelligence in the final third, and these features stood out in the final against Levante, her debut match as a rojiblanca. She scored twice while assisting Deyna Castellanos’ goal.
The post-match celebration was touching with Virginia Torrecilla, who is recovering from a brain tumour, lifting the cup alongside captain Amanda Sampedro.
New arrival from Italy
Meanwhile, Italian forward Tatiana Bonetti’s arrival from Fiorentina is set to bolster the squad further. The 29-year-old, who has signed a deal to 2023, is one of the highest-rated offensive players in Italian football, having scored 57 goals in over 100 games for the Viola.
Having started at Riozzese, Bonetti moved to Tavagnacco before signing for Hellas Verona. She moved to Fiorentina in 2016.
“Being here and signing for a club as important as Atletico de Madrid is very exciting and I feel fortunate to have this opportunity,” Bonetti told the club’s website.
Sometimes, every bit of good news is followed by some bad.
Club captain Amanda Sampedro was subbed at the half-time of the Supercopa final. According to the club, the Spain international underwent further tests to determine the extent of a possible injury, and the 27-year-old has suffered a muscular injury to her right hamstring — the latest blow in a season that has seen several Atlético players miss time due to fitness problems.
Atletico’s next league game will be at home, at the Wanda Alcalá de Henares Sports Center, against Sevilla. Sánchez Vera’s side will host the game as fans will make their return to the stands.
Medical protocols will be in place due to the coronavirus pandemic, so fans will have to keep a distance of 1.5 metres between themselves, with a maximum of six people per group allowed in. Masks must be worn at all times.
It will be a fantastic occasion for the fans to salute their heroes after the Supercopa success, following what has been a tumultuous period behind closed doors.
Atlético had a great end to 2020, as evidenced by a 10th-place finish in the latest UEFA rankings. These rankings take into account the results obtained by clubs in European competitions over the last five seasons. Back in 2015/2016, Atleti sat 42nd in this table.
Atleti’s progress has seen the club participate in Europe in the past four seasons, reaching the final eight for the first time last season.