A club-by-club recap of how 2018 has been treating Albacete, Betis, Huelva, Levante, Sevilla and Valencia in Liga Iberdrola.
Going big guns, a fruitful 2018 has left Betis bosting the second best unbeaten run in the league, only Barcelona’s nine is better than Las Verdiblancos eight games unbeaten.
Rocío’s fourth minute goal gifted the hosts all three points against Sevilla in their first match of the year before Betis hosted Espanyol, Virgy and Paula both on target for the Wolves. Against Rayo, the visitors found themselves down at the break to a Paula Andújar goal, Las Verdiblancos firing on all cylinders after the break to turn the tie around, Bea Parra’s double wrapped around a strike from Irene. Against a struggling Levante side it was the link-up between Paula and Priscila Borja that proved deadly for the hosts, the former Atleti woman setting up Paula for both her goals either side of the break.
On a four-match winning run, the Wolves were unexpectedly stopped in their tracks by Zaragoza, Paula’s first half goal whipped out by Zenatha Coleman on the hour but their solid form has seen the side from Seville up to sixth.
Another team struggling this season, Sevilla were dealt three consecutive losses at the start of the year before recovering to claim four points from their next two.
Rocío’s fourth minute goal was enough for Betis when they sparred at the start of the year, the Sevillistas not faring much better next time out, Jenni Morilla’s first half goal counting for nothing after Anita and Francisca Lara tipped the match in Huelva’s favour. Cristina Baudet’s gambit just before the hour in Catalunya handed Espanyol all three points as Sevilla fell to their third straight defeat.
Enjoying a better run this month, the Sevillistas got back to winning ways against Rayo, Nagore Calderón's late hit enough for top marks at home before a trip to Buñol saw the visitors take a point off of Levante after Morilla’s early goal was cancelled out by Charlyn Corral’s late penalty.
The choppy run leaves Sevilla thirteenth, comfortably clear of the bottom two but in touching distance of the top eight.
Not always the most convincing team over the first half of the season, Huelva look to have galvanised over the winter break taking their points tally from 14 to 21 over the first three games of the year.
Behind in Badajoz to an Estefa penalty, 24-year-old Geneviève Ngo Mbeleck dug-out a fast equaliser to ensure Huelva shared the spoils with Santa Teresa. A goal down at the break to Sevilla, the visitors came back fighting in the second half, Anita’s early penalty enough for parity before Chilean Francisca Lara found a winner after the hour. Riding their good form, Sporting pulled off a shock next time out as they kept Athletic quite for 90 minutes, the only goal coming in favour of the hosts when Ana Martínez set up Anita.
February has see less joy for side from Andalucía however, with the side falling to a 1-0 loss away to Espanyol before being given a wake-up call when they hosted Valencia. Castelló’s goal early in the second half gave the hosts something to go at after Mari Paz’s double had given Las Ches a commanding lead at the break. Unable to find an all-important second, Sandra Hernández put the gloss on for the visitors, Huelva dropping to eleventh with the loss.
Having an inconsistent season, El Funda have had the worst start to 2018 in the league, managing just one point from their first five matches of the year.
After shipping three to Valencia at the start of Janurary, Albacete started their next match off on a better foot, benefiting from an Andrea Pereira third minute own goal in Madrid. Though the match fast shifted back in Atleti’s favour when Ludmila struck two minutes later before Pau gave the visitors the lead again. The advantage Atleti’s at the break after Sonia Bermúdez and Angela Sosa had fired in the host’s second and third goals, Bermúdez’s second at the start of the second half more than enough. Alba Redondo’s seventh goal of the season a mere consolation for the visitors when she fired home in stoppage time.
The defeat was followed up with another, this time to Barca, the visitors taking the lead early through Lieke Martens before Toni Duggan added a second late in the first half with Patri Guijarro adding the third at the death. The loss followed by another, their eighth on the spin, when Saray García’s lone strike on the stroke of half time decided the tie in Madrid.
Pulling themselves out of their tailspin, El Funda started off on the right foot last time out against Tenerife. Mati’s early goal cancelled out by Martín-Prieto before Pisco gave the visitors the lead, Mati’s second of the match seven minutes later enough for Albacete’s first point since November.
Finishing the year fourth in the table with an unstoppable attack spearheaded by league top goalscorer, Charlyn Corral, the Granotes have suffered a surprising poor run of form. Equalling Albacete’s terrible start to 2018, Levante have managed just one point from their five games so far this year, the team going as far as to part ways with manager Andrés Tudela this week.
The Granotes troubles started with a weak showing at Barcelona’s Joan Gamper home, the visitors letting five goals skip past Noelia Ramos between the sticks. A goal to the good courtesy of Corral from the spot against Madrid had Levante looking steadier until the hosts turned the tie after the hour, Mascaró and Jade more than willing to inflict the blows. Back in Valencia, Levante failed to benefit from a home field advantage against Tenerife and succumbed to a María José goal late in the day.
A trip to Seville provided no joy either, as Levante fell to their fifth consecutive loss, Paula’s brace more than enough for a romping Betis team. Pulling themselves out of a tailspin and finally stopping the rot, the Granotes claimed their first point of the year at home to Sevilla. Struggling with their own form, the visitors lead from the sixth minute through their top goalscorer, Jenni Morilla the goal the difference for 80 minutes until Corral found a late equaliser.
Unlikely to have broken the top three without a real charge, Levante have slipped down to seventh, a sizeable way behind Betis in sixth.
Three has been the magic number for Valencia this year, all four of Las Ches’ wins this year involving them putting three past their opposition, a 1-1 draw away to Santa Teresa the only blot on their record.
Grabbing her second brace of the season, Marianela Szymanowski ensured that the hosts went in at the break two goals to the good against Albacete, Marta Carro’s strike five minutes from time the cherry on top. Going from strength to strength this season, Mari Paz bagged her first hat trick of the season next time out against Real Sociedad, Naiara Beristain’s late effort nothing more than a consolation for the visitors.
Struggling for a breakthrough in Extremadura, Las Ches fell behind to a rare Alba Merino goal before Szymanowski pulled the two level twenty minutes from time. Back home and back to winning ways, the team from Paterna dealt former champions Athletic Club their fourth loss of the season. Mari Paz was back on the scoresheet for the hosts, her opening goal cancelled out by María Díaz before she combined with Débora again to give Valencia the lead. The match put out of reach ten minutes later when 20-year-old Sandra Hernández notched her second of the season. The 3-1 scoreline repeated last time out against Huelva, a Mari Paz brace enough to get the visitors underway, Castelló’s effort early in the second half enough to beat Jennifer Vreugdenhil before Hernández again added Las Ches’ third.
Despite taking 13 points from a possible 15, Valencia have only edged up to fourth, pouncing as Levante have fallen away, although Athletic are in touching distance in third.