A club-by-club recap of how 2018 has been treating Santa Teresa, Tenerife, Zaragoza, Atleti, Rayo and Madrid.
Far from perfect this season, title-hopefuls Atleti have been forced to surrender four points as well as surviving a couple of scares along the way.
Still relying heavily on late goals, the hosts needed over an hour to find a way through Zaragoza when they clashed at the start of the year, Sonia Bermúdez’ opener quickly doubled by Ludmila 25 minutes from time before the Spanish veteran added a third in stoppage time. An Andrea Pereira own goal three minutes into their home clash against Albacete set the tone, Ludmila’s equaliser was soon cancelled out by Pau as El Funda regained the lead. Bermúdez and Angela Sosa rebalanced the tie for Las Colchoneras late in the half, Bermúdez’ strike seconds after the break had the game all but won, Alba Redondo’s stoppage time third all too late for the visitors.
Kenti Robles’ 14 minute goal had the visitors well on track in Lasarte-Oria but failing to double their advantage, Atleti left the door open for Sociedad, the hosts pulling level early in the second half through Nahikari García. Following on from their second draw of the season, Las Colchoneras were left stunned by Santa Teresa when Mariana Diaz opened the scoring eight minutes in in Madrid. In all-too familiar fashion, Atleti had to wait until the tail end of the match to find their first goal, Ludmila’s 72 minute effort enough to beat Larqué, the tie turned in the last five minutes when Esther Gonzalez gave the hosts the advantage that they saw through.
Still not firing on all cylinders, Atleti started the match out right in Lezama when Ludmila claimed her ninth goal of the season, with Gonzalez doubling the advantage just after the half hour. Athletic weren’t in the mood to surrender another win and soon pulled a goal back through Nekane, the hosts given a chance to restore parity four minutes later although Maite Oroz failed to make her spot kick count. With the match waring on, Erika Vázquez found the equaliser for Zuri-gorriak, Atleti forced to surrender two points, their day getting worse with Lola sent off deep in stoppage time.
The two draws having cost the team who refused to give Barca an inch, the current champions now sit two points adrift of the Catalans.
Having a year to forget, Rayo have taken just one point from their five games so far in 2018. Struggling for goals, the year started with a 2-0 loss to Madrid before a frustrating trip to Tenerife that saw the visitors ship three in the last nine minutes to cancel out Natalia’s opener. The 3-1 loss was followed by another, this time to Betis, Paula Andújar’s first half goal counting for little as Bea Parra’s double sandwiched a winning effort from Irene.
Stemming the tide, Rayo managed to cut their losses to just one next time out, falling to a Nagore Calderón goal in the 85 minute in Seville, their most recent outing a more profitable 1-1 at home to Espanyol. On the back foot at the half, the Rayistas found an equaliser 20 minutes from time through Andújar to pick up their first point since a shock derby win over Atleti in December.
Still the unknown quantity in Liga Iberdrola, Madrid have continued on at a similar pace so far this year, climbing up to eighth in the table.
Goals from Alba Mellado and Mascaró ensured the San Sebastián de los Reyes team started the year out right against Rayo, the side able to overturn a Charlyn Corral penalty next time out, Mascaró and Jade the heroes for the hosts against Levante.
Not faring as well in Zaragoza, Madrid slipped to an early goal from debutant Zenatha Coleman before Leti found an equaliser just after the hour to extend Madrid’s unbeaten run to four. Four fast became five when the league new-comers dispatched with Albacete, Mascaró involved again as she set up Saray García at the end of the first half, the winning run brought to an abrupt end against Sociedad with a 3-0 loss.
Still languishing at the wrong end of the table, Santa Teresa have shown some signs of improvement so far this year, however their two points from five games has done little to help them climb the table.
In their first match of 2018, they took the lead through an Estefa penalty before Huelva fired an equaliser past Larqué, the draw fast followed by a 1-0 loss to Athletic Club in Bilbao, Erika Vázquez’ first half goal enough to settle the tie. The loss was followed with another draw, Alba Merino’s first of the season giving Santa Teresa the lead in Badajoz before Marianela Szymanowski restored parity twenty minutes from time.
Showing more mettle, the visitors took the lead against Atleti courtesy of a Mariana Díaz eighth-minute goal, the lead standing for over an hour until the hosts found an equaliser through Ludmila before Esther Gonzalez completed the smash and grab six minutes from time. Bouncing from one tough match to another, the side from Badajoz had no joy when they welcomed Barcelona to El Vivero, Bárbara Latorre’s brace sandwiching a strike from Alexia Putellas in a comfortable 3-0 for the league-leaders.
One of the surprise packages of the season, Tenerife have come out firing this year, the winter break doing little to slow them down, they remain one of the handful of teams yet to be beaten in 2018.
A María José goal was all to separate UDG and Espanyol when the pair clashed during the first week of the year, the hosts forced to bide their time next time out against Rayo. Down in the first twenty minutes to a Natalia strike, the hosts rallied and fired in three goals in seven minutes at the death to come out on top. Pisco and Ange N'Guessan at the heart of the comeback as she first the defender set up Patri before María José fired N'Guessan’s pass home before the Ivorian completed the turnaround, assisted by Pisco.
The veteran Spanish striker was the difference once again when she slotted her tenth goal of the season home at Levante’s Buñol home to return home with all three points before the Islanders made it four wins from four. Back home in Tenerife, UDG made no mistakes against Zaragoza, Pisco’s first half goal doubled late in the day by María José from 12-yards.
Against a gritty Albacete side in Castilla-La Mancha, Granadilla surrendered their first points of the year, a goal down inside the fist ten minutes, Martín-Prieto pulled the visitors level before Pisco riffled in her second of the second. The lead only standing for seven minutes before Mati got the better of Pili for the second time in the match, the draw dropping Tenerife from fourth to fifth, behind Valencia on goal difference alone.
League strugglers, Zaragoza have, by their own standards, not had a terrible start to the year, unable to add to their lone win this season, the Aragonese team have at least, doubled their tally of draws.
Given the toughest possible start to the year, the Blanquillas fell to successive defeats at the hands of Atleti and Barcelona, conceding five in the process – a certain improvement on the nine they let in to Barcelona at the start of the season. Having slipped to a 3-2 defeat to Madrid when they clashed in 2017, Zaragoza went one better and ground out a draw. Debutant Zenatha Coleman needed just 17 minutes to open her account for her new club, the goal the difference until after the hour when Leti found an equaliser for the visitors. A trip to Tenerife bore no fruit for the Blanquillas, goals from Pisco and María José enough to give the hosts the win. Having left Seville with nothing but a goal against their GD in May, Zaragoza faired better in their second meeting with Betis, Paula’s first half goal cancelled out by Coleman who combined with fellow new signing, Armisa Kuć.
Whilst the two draws have boosted Zaragoza’s points tally for the season from five to seven, the side from Aragon still sit dead-last, nine points adrift of safety.