Derbies were the dish of the day in Liga Iberdrola with Levante claiming the Valencian honours against Valencia, Rayo serving up a shock to Atletico and Barcelona eased past their Catalan counterparts, Espanyol.
Elsewhere, Sevilla hit Madrid for two as Santa Teresea grabbed their second win of the season at home to Albacete and Betis put an end to Tenerife’s winning ways. In Huelva the hosts fell to a 3-1 loss to Sociedad as Athletic hit Zaragoza for four.
A team without a win in their last two against a team on a three-match unbeaten run, there was more than just local honours on the line when Valencia clashed with Levante, the hosts riding a rash of chances from their cross-town opposition.
Jennifer Vreugdenhil was in fine form to keep a busy Levante team out before, like clockwork, Mari Paz gave Las Che the lead with a scrappy goal. The hosts were able to take the advantage into the break and that was as it stood until after the hour. Cristina Cubedo’s over-exuberant challenge for the ball just inside the box left Nerea Pérez floored with referee Marta Huerta pointing to the spot, Natalia Ramos clinical from 12-yards.
The home defence were left exposed again 10 minutes later when Marta Cardona’s cross was allowed to bounce all the way through to Alharilla to poke home at the back post before the pair linked up again minutes later, a cross from the right perfect for an unmarked Alharilla.
With the tie having run away from his team, Jesús Oliva threw 19-year-old Marta Peiró on with three minutes left. The substitute saw a volley crash against the far post before Cubedo’s header cannoned off of the near upright at her to poke home in stoppage, the goal purely conciliatory.
Sevilla put an end to their run of five games without a win with a healthy three points in Madrid.
Martina Piemonte’s sixth goal for Las Rojiblancas was enough to open the stilted game up 16 minutes in, the hosts enjoying the better chances despite being a goal down, the match turned on its head after the break. Being able to relax a little more, Sevilla began to enjoy going forward more and more, their second-goal a building effort that saw Jenni Morilla doubled the advantage.
From then out things went from bad to worse for Madrid, two goals down they fast saw leading goalscorer Jade shown a straight red 20 minutes from time, the match already lost. It leaves Madrid with just one win in their last eight.
Yet to lose a game this season, Atleti saw their unbeaten run of 44 league matches come to an abrupt end against the Rayistas.
A lack of bite in front of goal, combined with some dogged defending from Rayo, was enough to keep Ali’s sheet clean. The decisive moment came after the hour when Amaia Mendioroz collided with Ludmila in the box.
The resulting penalty was rather weakly struck down the middle by Sonia Bermúdez, Ali sharp enough to stick a big glove at the ball as she dove to her left, dropping on the ball before sending it away for a counter.
Laura Domínguez’s neat footwork just outside the box the precursor, her curled ball met by Sheila García, the 20-year-old charging into space on the left side of the box before lifting the ball beyond Lola.
The loss for the champions has once again blown the title-race wide open.
Up against league strugglers Zaragoza, Athletic had to wait until just before half-time when Lucía Córdoba’s curler slipped off of Oihana’s fingertips and rolled into the net.
The goalkeeper was left red-faced late in the day when her own goal sparked a flurry of goals for the hosts. The visitors, who had defended so determinedly, let their heads drop as the Basques hit them for three in five minutes.
Oihana’s fumble enough was to guarantee there would be no way back for the visitors, Yulema Corres’ seventh this season three minutes later a nod to the switch off at the back, the attacker nipping in to rob Oihana after a poor back-pass.
The cherry on top, Nekane’s acrobatic volley at a late corner, throwing her leg over her head as she spun on the spot, the 26-year-old connected perfectly to slip the ball just past the hapless ‘keeper.
Santa Teresa 1-0 Albacete
On top from the outset, the hosts saw an early Chica goal ruled out for a questionable offside as they looked for their first win in four – El Funda looking to curb their run of two losses.
Both goalkeepers were in good form to deny the better chances from their opposition, the deadlock finally broken after the hour when Estefa touched Mireya’s cross over Elena to give the hosts the lead which they held on to well until the whistle.
A bit of a slow burner, the match didn’t spark into life until after the hour when the goals flurried in. An Analu Martinez opener from close range only served to fire the visitors into life.
Needing just eight minutes to respond, Claudia Zornoza restored parity for La Real before Nahikari gave the visitors the lead moments later. Sarita Serrat was caught out and the ball allowed to trickle over the line despite the best efforts of Sandra Bernal.
A goal up and suddenly heading for their fifth win of the season, Sociedad fast found a third as Zornoza fired in her second in six minutes to leave Huelva with just one win in their last eight, while the San Sebastián side shoot up to eleventh in the table after a terrible start to the season.
Having put an end to a run of tough losses last time out, Betis made it back-to-back wins - putting an abrupt end to UDG’s fine run of results.
Coming in flurries, Tenerife struck in the first seconds, Sara Tui’s goal hit past Erina Yamane before anyone at the Estadio La Palmera had settled down, Bea Parra’s instant response seconds later enough to have everyone not knowing if they were coming or going.
The match fast calmed down however and the two teams passed the ball around looking for the advantage that refused to come until the second half, Rocío’s goal on the hour immediately cancelled out by Martín-Prieto’s at the restart.
With both sides unable to draw a breath, Betis found the decisive goal moments after the restart, Rosa Márquez combining with Rocío twice in four minutes to give the visitors the lead. The game calming back down, Las Lobos holding on to claim all three points.
With a more commanding goal difference, Barcelona regained their spot at the top of the Iberdrola table with a composed derby win over Espanyol. Mapi Leon’s flick on from Nataša Andonova’s ninth minute free-kick was enough to give the hosts the lead as they took control of the match. Lieke Martens’ whisked effort from just outside the box two minutes before the break was enough to leave the Periquitos with no place to go.
The match continued in the same vein after the break with the attack going one way, though the hosts struggled to convert their best chances, the bar left shaking more than once. Toni Duggan’s 72nd minute goal was more than enough to put the tie to bed, her neat one-two with Vicky Losada enough to unlock the defence and see the Englishwoman tick the ball into the bottom corner.
Set on her way by Alexia Putellas, Martens grabbed a fourth as she tore past the high defence to gather the through-ball and round Maríajo Pons and drop the ball into the open net.
With the game already won, Andressa Alves missed the chance to further bolster the Catalan goal tally late in the day when Maríajo saved her rather weak effort from the spot.