Santa Teresa, Sporting Huelva and Albacete all put in their own bids for survival this weekend with respective home wins against Rayo, Madrid and Zaragoza with Sevilla scooping an important point against Valencia.
Higher up the table, both Atleti and Barcelona ensured Champions League football for next season with wins over Betis and Tenerife as both Sociedad and Athletic won at home to Levante and Espanyol.
Real Sociedad 2-1 Levante
With both sides looking lively in attack the breakthrough didn’t come until the 27 minute when Nahikari García raced through and slotted the ball to the right of Sandra Torres. A well-taken header from Ramajo off of a Claudia Zornoza corner ten minutes later saw La Real double their advantage with Levante’s back-up goalkeeper beaten to her right once again. A sublime curler from Nerea Pérez early in the second half brought the visitors within one though the Granotes failed to get all important second and fell to their tenth defeat of the season.
It was one step closer to safety for Albacete and one foot backwards for Zaragoza when the two sparred on Saturday, the visitors undone by El Funda’s two top goalscorers. The match shifted after the break when Mati set up Alba Redondo before Kuki claimed her tenth of the term, besting Oihana from the spot. The match wrapped up 25 minutes from time when Mati and Redondo combined once again, the 21-year-old on target for the 15 time this season, the side from Castilla-La Mancha on the verge of securing their safety.
A smart run and well-weighted square pass from Lucía García opened the game up 13 minutes in, Nekane sharp as ever to race in and poke the ball home. On the front foot in the match, the hosts struggled to find a second, Maríajo a match to their best efforts, the veteran ‘keeper judging Erika Vázquez’ spot kick well to keep the visitors in it. A lack of finish keeping Las Leonas from furthering their advantage, Nekane’s lone goal enough for their fifteenth win of the season.
Without a win in five and having not scored in their last two, Valencia were looking for an overdue win when a resurgent Sevilla side travelled to Paterna but found themselves digging in late for their third straight draw. Nagore Calderón’s delightful looped ball from the edge of the box brought about the opening ten minutes before the break, the 24-year-old attacker leaving Jennifer Vreugdenhil with no chance. As the game wore on the clear-cut chances became fewer and fewer, Las Che talismanic striker, Mari Paz Villas the one to salvage her team a point late in the day with a clinical rising header.
With a loss in Tenerife one of the blots on Barcelona’s record for this season, the Catalans made no mistake at home as they confirmed their Champions League berth for the coming season. Patri Guijarro’s sumptuous 22-yard drive on the quarter hour got the hosts underway with Pili unable to shift across and cover her far corner in time. The goalkeeper left to pick the ball out of her own net again ten minutes later when she completely misjudged an Elise Bussaglia corner and punched it into her own net.
The two goal advantage lasted just seconds for the hosts when they were pegged back almost instantly, Jackie Simpson’s second of the campaign coming against the same team. The defender’s looped header enough to get the better of Sandra Paños for a second time this season. The two goal gap re-established just before half time when another Bussaglia dead ball had the backline in knots. With Maria Estella and Patri Gavira both going for the same ball the pair left Guijarro space to pounce upon the loose ball and poke it under Pili for the last goal of the day.
Santa Teresa 2-0 Rayo
All but nailed on for relegation, the side from Badajoz showed their mettle at home to Rayo as they dug in and found their third win of the season and first of the year. Mariana Diaz’ eighth minute strike was enough to give the hosts the lead for the first time in a match since her opening gambit in Madrid in February. One of the few bright sparks for Santa Teresa this season, Estefa extended the advantage just before the half hour, the hosts dogged in their determination to hold out and claim all three points.
Slipping into dangerous territory just above the drop zone, Sporting gave their survival hopes a boost with a healthy home win over Madrid. Cementing her role as top goalscorer for Huelva this term with a first half brace that put the visitors on the back foot, Anita got the better of Paola Ulloa 20 minutes in before doubling the advantage five minutes before the break. With nowhere to turn, Madrid were hit for a third at the death when Pachu nabbed her second of the season to give the side from Andalucía some breathing room.
An early scramble in the Betis box brought about the only goal of the game, Esther Gonzalez’ lay off just right to set up Mesi as the experienced midfielder swept a low shot past Erina Yamane. The Japanese international a wall for the rest of the match, repelling and blocking at every turn to keep Los Verdiblancos in the match, the visitors unable to capitalise when they went forward. Mesi’s lone strike enough to keep the champions top and confirm a top two finish no matter what.