Liga Iberdrola week 29 review: Title left to be decided on the last day

Zaragoza downed

Liga Iberdrola week 29 review: Title left to be decided on the last day
Credit: VAVEL ESP/Tomás Rubia.

A draw away to Madrid was enough for Espanyol to confirm their league safety after Zaragoza fell to Valencia as Santa Teresa shipped four to Sociedad. At the top end of the table a hefty win for Barcelona over Rayo set-up a last day showdown with Atleti after the current champions squeezed past Levante. Elsewhere, Betis fell to Huelva as Athletic hit Albacete for two and Tenerife extended their unbeaten run with a win at home to Sevilla.

Real Betis 0-1 Sporting Huelva

Looking to bounce back after more losses than not since the end of February, Los Verdiblancos were undone once more as they slipped to a twelfth loss of the campaign. Asking questions of the opposition defence as ever, it was again a mater of not capitalising when they were in for the hosts, chances routinely wasted. The pivotal moment of the match was five minutes into the second half, Meryem Hajri’s lofted ball forward enough to catch Maddi out as it bounced behind her. With Ana Martínez making a run to chase the pass, the 28-year-old dashed past Clau before flicking the ball over Miriam, her lob executed to perfection.

Valencia 1-0 Zaragoza

Confirming a fifth-place finish this season, Valencia put an end to Zaragoza’s hopes of staying up once and for all as Las Che closed out all three points at home. Threatening throughout, the hosts struggled to take their chances, last-ditch defending for Zaragoza enough to keep them in the match as they enjoyed sporadic jaunts into the opposition box. No strangers to a goalless match this season, the home side finally found their breakthrough, four minutes into stoppage time, Marta Peiró’s solo goal swept into the bottom corner.

Atlético Madrid 1-0 Levante

Hitting the ground running at home, Atleti claimed the early advantage on Saturday when Angela Sosa perfectly picked out Soni in the box, the 33-year-old’s header enough to crest over Noelia Ramos’ outstretched glove. A lone point clear of Barcelona coming into the match, the hosts continued to hound the away goal, aware of the need for a cushion with the threat posed but Levante and Charlyn Corral. Unable to find a second in the match, but not for the want of trying, the hosts proved to be untroubled in defence, their lone goal enough for all three points.

Tenerife 2-0 Sevilla

With a win to keep their chances of finishing third alive, Granadilla took a quick hold of their match in San Isidro, showing their authority against a struggling Sevilla side. Cindy’s second in as many games enough to give the hosts the lead half-way through the first half when she nodded Pisco’s corner over Noelia Gil and home. Having just confirmed their safety and top-flight status for the forthcoming season, the Sevillistas saw a handful of chances in the match as they tried to be as expansive as possible, the tie not decided until late in the day. A regular threat for Tenerife, Cristina Martín-Prieto nabbed her eighth of the term two minutes from time with a well-timed chip over Gil from the top of the box.

Credit: VAVEL ESP/Noelia Déniz
Credit: VAVEL ESP/Noelia Déniz

Barcelona 7-0 Rayo

Having fallen down the pecking order this season, Rayo weren’t given an inch in Catalunya against a Barca team unwilling to let their title hopes die before the end of the long Spanish season. Off and running six minutes in, Alexia Putellas gave the hosts the lead with a firm volley at Andressa Alves’ corner, the Brazilian instrumental throughout. Needing just another ten minutes before extending their advantage, Andressa chased down Mariona’s smart pass, edging out Auñon in a footrace, before poking the ball under Ali. Two soon became three when Lieke Martens chipped Melanie Serrano’s low cross over Ali from 12-yards, the hosts peppering the away goal at every chance.

With Andressa off and running again early in the second half, the visitors tied themselves in knots, the attacker’s ball pinged into the box for Martens knocked into her own net by Auñon as the defender fluffed her attempted clearance. The fourth was followed by a fifth just two minutes later when Andressa connected with Aitana Bonmati’s driven cross, turning the ball home without much effort. With their day fast going from bad to worse, Rayo gave up another twenty minutes from time when Jeni slid through the box to block Martens’ shot, her the ball cannoning off of her arm in the process. Shown a yellow for her troubles, the defender was forced to watch as Mariona converted from the spot, rocketing the ball into the top right corner after her error. Flying since returning from injury, Mariona soon doubled her tally for the match, closing out the scoring eight minutes later, poking the ball home at the far post, after Ali had parried an effort from Bárbara.

Santa Teresa 1-4 Real Sociedad

Downed the previous week and left to play for pride, Santa Teresa slipped to another loss as La Real put an end to a run of three matches without a win. The combination between Nahikari García and Manuela Lareo enough to see the first and second goals, García’s hat trick completed on the hour before the hosts pulled one back through Sofia. The win already in the bag, it was left to Claudia Zornoza to wrap up the scoring eight minutes from time.

Athletic Club 2-0 Albacete

A fourteenth minute corner was enough to see the hosts open the scoring in Lezama, Nekane’s near post header thumped into the ground for Andrea Ríos to push away, Vanesa Gimbert perfectly placed to nod the rebound home. Passing around their visitors with ease, Las Leonas continued to threaten, a lack of clinical touch undoing them at the last. With El Funda carrying a slight threat of their own in attack, the match hung in the balance until the last knockings when Hitomi Yama cut across Lucía García in the box, the teenager felled leaving Paula Lindez no option but to point to the spot. Erika Vázquez’ twelfth goal of the season despatched with a punch into the left side of the goal from 12-yards to seal the win.

Madrid 1-1 Espanyol

Putting an end to a run of five matches without a win, Madrid scooped their first point since March against an Espanyol side who’d just seen themselves granted another season in the league after Zaragoza’s loss. Mascaró’s sixth of the season was enough to give the hosts the lead in San Sebastián just before the hour, Brenda’s equaliser enough for a point away from home.

Liga Iberdrola table as it stands (Credit: La Liga)
Liga Iberdrola table as it stands (Credit: La Liga)