Liga Iberdrola week 14 review: Barcelona finish the year at the top

Zaragoza still unable to wrench themselves off of the bottom

Liga Iberdrola week 14 review: Barcelona finish the year at the top
Credit: VAVEL ESP/Miguel López Mallach

In the last match week of 2017 Zaragoza had little joy against Valencia as Atleti hit four past Levante before Athletic came from behind to scoop all three points in Albacete and Sevilla grabbed a tight win at home to Tenerife.

Barcelona claimed a 2-1 win away to Rayo with Madrid registering the same score against Espanyol and both Sociedad vs Santa Teresa and Huelva vs Betis ended scoreless.

Zaragoza 1-3 Valencia

Without a win in three coming into the first kick off of the weekend it didn’t take Valencia long to find an opening goal, Mari Paz’s deft header enough to see Débora’s cross fly over Esther Sullastres and into the back of the net. Up against a Zaragoza team who’ve [comparatively] been doing better recently, the second goal for Las Che didn’t arrive until well after the hour, Carol’s whipped free kick allowed to sneak in at the near post.

The home defence left to hang their heads after Marta Peiró was given space to run onto Sandra Hernández’s through ball, her scuffed shot evading Sullastres, Teresa Rey’s attempted goal-line clearance only enough to loop the ball into the corner of the net. Refusing to give up, Zaragoza did at least manage to grab a consolation – as they so often have – Maya Yamamoto’s fourth of the season deep in stoppage enough to take the sheen off of Valencia’s day.

Levante 0-4 Atleti

Recovering well from a surprising loss last time out, Atleti immediately started working their hosts, an early goal chalked off for offside before Ludmila thumped Keti Robles’ low cross home from close range. The explosive Brazilian was on hand to double the advantage two minutes into the second half, her determined run capped off with a fine finish to the far side of the net.

Two fast became three as Levante lost any chance of getting back into the match, Sonia Bermúdez left in space in the box to receive Ludmila’s ball before the experienced attacker teed up Amanda Sampedro to add a third with less than 50 minutes on the clock. The match wrapped up fifteen minutes from time when Angela Sosa cut through the middle of the park before picking out the bottom corner with a delightful curler from the top of the box.

The loss just Levante’s third of the season as they finish the year in fourth, Atleti with near identical stats to Barcelona – bar a vast difference in goals scored – as they head into the new year second in the standings.

Albacete 1-3 Athletic Club

Struggling for form, Kuki’s ninth minute opener was the highlight of El Funda’s day, their Basque visitors turning the tie with ease, Erika Vázquez’s equaliser six minutes later fast doubled by Maite Oroz two minutes later. The pair combining at the start of the second half for Vázquez’s seventh of the season, leaving Albacete little room to get back, the task made considerably harder when Carla was shown a second yellow just after the hour.

Credit: VAVEL ESP/Mateo Villalba
Credit: VAVEL ESP/Mateo Villalba

Sevilla 1-0 Tenerife

With opposing form coming into the match, both sides saw chances to end the year of a high but it was the hosts who took the honours late in the day, Jenni Morilla’s tight chip fifteen minutes from time enough to earn three festive points. 

Real Sociedad 0-0 Santa Teresa

Both held scoreless by Espanyol last month, Sociedad and Santa Teresa found themselves wanting for goals when they clashed in Lasarte-Oria over the weekend. Despite the lack of goals, it does leave La Real unbeaten in their last seventh, a far car from the team who couldn’t even buy a point until the start of November. The draw a positive result for a Santa Teresa team who’ve been having their own torrid time of it this season, the team under the cosh throughout the match in the north.  

Sporting Huelva 0-0 Real Betis

Given that neither Huelva or Betis had been part of a scoreless draw since October of last year, 0-0 didn’t seem like the most obvious outcome when the two came up against each other on Sunday. It certainly wasn’t for want of trying, the hosts coming close more than once, Erina Yamane’ goal leading a charmed life at points but it wasn’t to be for either and both with go into the new year on the back of a clean sheet.

Espanyol 1-2 Madrid

After a flying start to the season, Espanyol had rather come off of the boil when they squared off against a Madrid team who’d suffered their own dip in form. Dominika Čonč’s opener just before the hour tipped the tie in the favour of the hosts before Madrid tapped into the form that suited them so well earlier in the season, finding late goals to devastate their opposition. Mascaró’s 83rd minute strike looked to have salvaged a point for the visitors before Ale fired in the winner, four minutes into stoppage time to lift them to thirteenth.

Rayo 1-2 Barcelona 

Up against a Rayo team who took all three points off of current champions, Atleti last week, Barcelona had little room for error and soon took the lead courtesy of a magnificent thunderbolt from Patricia Guijarro, the teenager striking the ball into the top corner on the half-volley. The Rayistas survived a scare when Toni Duggan left the bar shaking before a driven effort from Natalia stung Sandra Paños’ fingertips on the way over, Paula Andújar’s header on the hour bringing about parity.

Having already surrendered points this term, the Catalans dug in and found a winner ten minutes later, Duggan expertly picked out by Marta Torrejón, the England international bringing the ball under control before looping it over Ali. The three points enough to keep Barcelona top over Christmas, Atleti hot on their heels, Rayo respectfully sat in seventh.

 

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