At the top of the table despite Atleti dropping two points to Madrid the day before, Barcelona couldn’t make their rivals pay as they were held in Huelva and Bilbao reclaimed third spot with a win over Betis as Tenerife were held scoreless by Valencia.
Elsewhere both Albacete and Zaragoza boosted their chances of survival as they hot Rayo and Levante for three of the best. In the other action of the weekend both Real Sociedad and Santa Teresa played out 1-1 home draws to Espanyol and Sevilla.
Athletic Club 1-0 Betis
Against a Betis team going full-steam on an eleven-match unbeaten run, Las Leonas claimed a streak-ending win at home when 19-year-old Lucía García found the back of the net for the third time this term. The teenager’s lone strike just after the hour enough to claim all three points in Lezama and slingshot Bilbao back into third above Tenerife, Betis still in fifth.
Mining some much-needed form, Albacete claimed their second consecutive win with a strong showing at home to Rayo. Having broken beyond the defence, Alba Redondo chased down Mati’s through ball as she charged into the box, leaving Ana on the deck as she slipped past and rolled the ball into the empty net. Notching her fourteenth of the season, Natalia restored parity late in the first half when Elena’s parry dropped back to her and the 32-year-old curled the ball over the keeper and into the top corner.
The parity stood until just after the hour when Mati slammed the ball home from outside the box, the tense match settled in stoppage time when Redondo ripped a world-class strike from 25-yard to get the better of Ana for the second time.
Making history by playing at the Wanda Metropolitano, 22,202 fans turned out for a Madrid derby, Aurélie Kaci’s sublime seventh minute strike from outside the box befitting the occasion. The lead was however short-lived as CFF’s top goalscorer this season, Jade pulled the visitors level two minutes later, having latched onto Yasmin Mrabet’s ball over the top, the striker chipped it over the onrushing Lola.
Leaving the fans with little time to catch their breath, Marta Corredera made it 2-1 eight minutes later when she took a touch to bring Kenti Robles’ cross under control and slip away from Ona Batlle before firing low. After Soni crashed a curler against the upright from 25-yards, the visitors restored parity when Jade slipped the ball past Lola at her near post. Though the second half continued to see plenty of action it was devoid of goals as the league leaders slipped to their fifth draw of the season.
Scrapping at the top half of the table, neither Valencia nor Tenerife could find a breakthrough in Paterna although the hosts would have been glad to put an end to a run of three straight defeats that has seen them slip down the table. For Granadilla, the draw has seen them slip from third to fourth as Athletic won the previous day and fast leapfrogged them.
Still enjoying a solid run, La Real stretched their unbeaten streak to seven with their seventh draw of the season, Ramajo’s strike just before the break cancelled out by Inés on the hour. The point comes as a welcome end to a run of three losses that has seen the team ship ten goals, consistency still a big issue for the Españolistas.
Santa Teresa 1-1 Sevilla
Having seen Zaragoza begin to surge, Santa Teresa have been unable to pick up enough points to keep them from slipping into last position, Zaragoza’s home win and Santa Teresa’s draw to Sevilla seeing the side from Badajoz drop to the floor of the table.
Raquel Pinel’s effort on the hour looked to have the hosts bound for their sixth consecutive match without a point, although the 23-year-old’s deft finish was cancelled out late in the day by Yamila Rodriguez as she squirmed away in the box and clipped the ball over Pamela Tajonar.
Brazilian Darlene was the difference for Zaragoza in her second match since signing for the Spanish side, her first goal for the club five minutes in against Levante a taster for the 85 minutes ahead for the Granotes. The 28-year-old involved again twenty minutes later as she set-up fellow Brazilian May, her last meaningful contribution another assist this time for Nuria to wrap the match up just after the hour.
The win sees Zaragoza back off of the bottom of the table, the team picking up a head of steam since the turn of the year, winter recruitments the difference for the Aragonese side.
Having seen Atleti drop points the previous day the onus was on Barcelona to pick up a win in Andalucía against a Sporting team that have served them more than one heartbreak over the years. Conceding their ninth of the season, the Catalans were left undone by Rutendo Makore at the start of the second half, the Zimbabwean using a good turn of pace to latch onto Alicia Redondo’s low pass as she ran behind Ruth and slotted the ball between Sandra Paños’s legs and into the bottom corner. The lead lasted just thirteen minutes however, when after having seen a handful of shots slip just as well as having had a first half header chalked off for offside, Toni Duggan restored parity. Fed by Lieke Martens, the English international turned in the box and lashed one towards the top right corner