Athletic Bilbao kept up their form with a narrow win over Sevilla before Albacete stopped Levante’s unbeaten run and Sporting shared the spoils with Zaragoza, elsewhere in Liga Iberdrola, Atleti eased past Tenerife and Sociedad grabbed their first win of the season over Rayo.
Espanyol and Santa Teresa played out a scoreless draw as Valencia hit Betis for five and Barcelona completed a rout over Madrid.
Athletic Club 2-1 Sevilla
With a win that took them back up to third, Athletic did all they could to keep them in touching distance of the top two though their chances already seem incredibly slim. Eunate’s sublime floated ball into the box was the catalyst for the early breakthrough, Erika Vázquez’ header between defenders enough to play in Yulema Corres who struck first time to fire the ball into the bottom corner from the top of the box.
Pamela Tajonar found herself well worked throughout to keep the Sevillians in the match until Vázquez gave the hosts the cushion they needed fifteen minutes from time, Sevilla growing into the game and asking questions after the break. A flowing move saw Athletic slice through the visiting defence, Vázquez who was involved in the build-up, the one to run into space and stroke the ball past Tajonar.
Knocking at the door in the second half, Nagore Calderón hammered the ball home in the last minute of regulation time but it was too little too late for Sevilla who fell to their second successive 2-1 loss, Athletic conversely, with their second successive 2-1 win.
Kuki’s 34th minute strike was the difference when third clashed with tenth in Castilla-La Mancha. The game wasn’t without its controversies however as the visitors saw Ida’s goal saved off of the line early in the day, Levante sure the ball had in fact crossed into the goal though the referee remained unmoved. A late strike against the post was as close as the visitors could get after the break, the home defence staunch from the outset.
For a team that had only scored five goals in eight league games coming into the tie, there was a degree of surprise to see Zaragoza take the lead less than sixty seconds into the match. Nuria well placed to fire a header home after Ainhoa López had seen her hopeful initial shot cannon off of the bar, Sarita Serrat helpless to stop the opener.
Recovering well from their loss to Barcelona last time out, Sporting seemed unperturbed by their concession and fast settled into the match, working one of the most porous defences in the league. As time ticked by, Huelva were left frustrated, nothing they threw at Oihana’s goal sticking as Zaragoza looked on course for their first win of the season until after the hour. Ana Martínez’ sterling solo work proved the right tonic for the hosts, the ball finally slipping through to Francisca Lara who flicked it past her marker and into the near side of the net.
Despite fervently looking for a winner, Sporting couldn’t get the better of the visiting defence for a second time and were forced to share the spoils, Zaragoza’s lone point enough to double their tally for the season so far.
Esther Gonzalez rose well to beat her marker early in the game on Saturday morning, her back-header from Amanda Sampedro well struck free kick enough to break the deadlock as the hosts controlled proceedings in Madrid. It easily could have been two moments later when Ludmilla struck the post after a superb chip over the advancing goalkeeper but the young Brazilian soon made up for her miscalculation as she set up the second, her square ball causing enough panic to see Jackie Simpson turn the ball past her own ‘keeper.
Both saw their respective chances come and go as Tenerife tried to get back into the game and Madrid did what they could to bolster their goal difference, Barcelona’s superb attacking form spurring them on. With both ‘keepers well worked, Sonia Bermúdez was denied in stoppage time when Simpson, atoning for her earlier error, covered the open goal, bringing the ball away on the line.
Real Sociedad 3-0 Rayo
After 12 winless games, eight having slipped by without a goal, Scoiedad finally had something to smile about on Sunday afternoon when they confidently dispatched Rayo in Lasarte-Oria.
Nahikari García’s well-timed slide was enough to break the parity seven minute in, the attacker’s first touch enough to send Claudia Zornoza’s slipped pass beyond Ana and into the back of the net. Unable to hide from their disappointing results this year, las Txuri Urdin fast went about trying to secure a cushion in the match though it was without avail until late in the day, the Rayistas keen to work Mariasun at every opportunity.
Manuela Lareo’s super strike from 25-yards was more than enough to beat Ana, having flown over the box, and surely enough for all three points, the hosts growing in confidence late in the game. The match wrapped up when Mendi flicked the ball past her own 'keeper at the death, the Basque side suddenly unbeaten in their last two.
Santa Teresa 0-0 Espanyol
After seven weeks and over 56 games of the season, the league saw not just its first scoreless draw but its second too, and it seems that they’re contagious, bleeding into this week’s action too. Despite the draw, Espanyol have kept themselves fifth and extended their unbeaten run to five whilst Santa Teresa continue to dangle just above the danger zone.
Valencia 5-2 Real Betis
Russian international Nadezhda Karpova kicked off what was to be a busy day in Valencia with a clinical finish to the bottom corner after a streaking run that had seen her charge between the centre backs in just the second minute. Fan favourite, María Paz doubled the advantage just before the break, her low effort just enough to creep past Miriam, the goalkeeper left frustrated to be beaten so easily.
The second half saw the flood gates open, Lombi the one to claim first blood after the restart, her toe-poke from Carol’s whipped cross enough to see the advantage stretched to three before Priscila Borja hit back instantaneously for the visitors. Karpova opened up the three-goal gap just after the hour with another purposeful run, refusing to give up possession and hurdling the defenders in her path before slamming the ball home.
With her second assist of the day, Bea Parra set up Paula with a light flick, the 20-year-old clinical to beat Jennifer Vreugdenhil on the stretch. The scoreline refused to stay set and soon enough Carol added the seventh of the day, her ducked header enough to make it an afternoon to forget for Miriam and Betis.
It was the Bárbara Latorre show at the Esportiva Joan Gamper last night, the Zaragozan attacker involved in each of Barcelona’s seven goals as the table toppers thoroughly took apart league newcomers, Madrid.
Lieke Martens kicked the scoring off in the fifth minute with a low finish to the corner, quick to react when her initial shot from Bárbara’s square pass ricocheted off of Ona Batlle’s boots before the Dutch international set the 24-year-old up to volley home. Nataša Andonova was next to benefit from Bárbara’s inspired form on the right wing, curling the ball over Costa for the hosts third of the night.
Showing more defensive resilience, Madrid held Barca back until after the hour when the Catalans fired a further four past Paola Ulloa in just under twenty minutes, the team at the top showing a different class. First to react after Ulloa had spilled Vicky Losada’s lash from range, Bárbara poked home five minutes before setting up Toni Duggan with a flashed ball across the box. The fifth one of the more scrappy as the attacker took the ball off of Alexandra’s toe as the she tried to bring it under control, a touch rolled it towards Ulloa a second poked it through the goalkeeper’s hands as she went to claim, the ball rolling into the open goal.
Aitana Bonmati was next to have a hand in the action, lively since her introduction after the hour, the teenager nodded on for Bárbara to run onto, her low finish under Ulloa more than enough, her composure and deft touch lighting up the pitch.