With two matches down, and 28 to go, only Barcelona, Athletic, Atletico and Espanyol can claim a 100% record following a match day with few surprises around Spain.
After seeing a goal ruled out for offside when she chased down her own deflected pass – Estela happy to leave it aware of her offside position – Natalia refused to let her head drop, firing Rayo ahead just two minutes later, unmarked at the back post at a corner.
The victim of a messy foul in the box, Priscila Borja stepped up to the spot and blasted her penalty into the right side of the net to see the two teams head into the break tied up. The parity was however, short-lived as Natalia pulled Vallecano ahead three minutes into the second-half. Taking advantage of the high Betis back-line, the prolific attacker chased down Estela’s ball, untroubled by Cristina on her heels and rolled the ball between Miriam’s ankles. The goal enough to give Rayo their first win of the season as Betis remain on zero points.
With two goals to her name already this season, Nekane bagged her third early in the second-half to give the hosts the lead. Sarita Serrat was able to get enough on Lucía García’s shot to keep it out but let Nekane’s follow up slip past her gloves. The better team on the day, Athletic had little to show for their dominance until late in the game. Erika Vázquez’ goal enough to seal the win after she chested the ball down and blasted it just beyond Serrat.
Valencia 1-1 Santa Teresa
Just like Natalia and Nekane for Rayo and Athletic respectively, there was little surprise about who got Valencia off of the mark - María Paz as clinical as ever for Los Che. Ivana’s lofted ball gave something for Paz to run onto as she went up with Larqué, her touch better than the goalkeeper’s to recover the loose ball and wrap the ball into the far side of the goal.
With more than enough time to recover, Santa Teresa did what they could to take the match to the host. A lack of polish when it mattered from Valencia was enough to keep them in the game until they found an equaliser on the stroke of half-time. Attempting to bring María Neira’s floated ball down, Carla found enough room to knock the ball on but with a touch too heavy she immediately gave up as it drifted away from her. Carrying on her forward run, Estefa was quick to react and pulled away from the defence before lashing the ball beyond Jennifer Vreugdenhil and into the far corner.
With plenty of chances for both throughout the second-half, neither could managed to keep their efforts below eight foot and were forced to settle for the point.
Just as she had last week, Marta Torrejón gave the current champions the lead early on, capitalising on a well-placed set piece from Elise Bussaglia. Having already caught the woodwork, Andressa Alves made sure to just clip the inside of the post instead of cannoning the face when she nipped the ball past Elena from Mariona’s threaded ball. Never far from the action Mariona made it three just before the break, hugging the offside trap, the attacker was strong to nibbled the ball from Claudia, pulling Elena out of position and finding just enough space between Miri and the near post.
Three up and cruising, Albacete where far better at keeping Barcelona out than Zaragoza before them, restraining the Catalans to just three goals, the visiting defence far firmer after the break.
In Sevilla, the hosts succumbed to a 3-1 loss after having taken the lead through Jenni Morilla in the eighth minute. Espanyol’s reaction was swift as Cristina Baudet levelled the scores two minutes later. Elisa del Estal fired the visitors ahead four minutes after the break before they were reduced to ten after Inés was shown a second yellow just before the hour, the deficit not enough to stop Berta Pujadas from adding a third seven minutes later.
Chasing the game, Sevilla couldn’t make their man advantage count and were soon down to ten too after Maite had also been shown a second yellow. Without a point yet this year, Sevilla may not fancy their chances away to Rayo later in the month although Espanyol have the chance of making it three from three as they travel to Huelva.
With the hosts close to taking the lead, Levante were left to breathe a sigh of relief when Cristina Martín-Prieto’s shot cracked the face of the far post and bounced to safety. Tenerife were left to rue the miss two minutes later when Ida Guehai’s controlled shot from the left side of the box curled past Pili’s outstretched gloves. Parity restored on the stroke of half-time by María José following a quick bout of head tennis in the box, her own header enough to loop over Noelia Ramos and into the top corner.
Having grabbed the assist to Guehai’s goal, the Ivorian replayed her teammate in kind, setting Charlyn Corral up to send her own curler past Pili on the hour, the goal the last meaningful action of the game.
Reduced to ten less than fifteen minutes in when Natalia was shown a straight red, Zaragoza may have been forgiven for thinking it wasn’t to be their day, especially after Alba Mellado gave Madrid the lead minutes later with an audacious lob from 40-yards. Macarena Portales did well to level the scores ten minutes later only for Saray García to nudge the hosts back ahead after being played through by Carol Hernández and left in acres to pick her spot.
Hernández was involved again just after the break to give Madrid a cushion and stretch their lead to two goals when she clipped Laura Del Rio’s square ball past Esther Sullastres. Down but not out, Portales grabbed a late goal for Zaragoza to reduce the deficit but with little left on the clock it was too little, too late as Madrid saw their way to a historic win.
Lively throughout but lacking that clinical punch to get the better of Mariasun – who was in fine fettle for Txuri-urdin – Atleti found themselves frustrated in Madrid. A scoreless draw looking more likely with each passing minute, Sociedad’s resolve finally broke with little more than fifteen minutes left as the hosts got the ball forward and slipped it from right to left. Ludmila’s threaded ball to Amanda Sampedro was just right to see the captain pivot in the box before feeding Angela Sosa. With the majority of blue and white shirts pulled to the right side of the pitch, Sosa found herself in acres of space with all the time in the world to lash the ball into the top left corner.
Denied a second by Mariasun, the hosts held onto their lead, rarely facing anything meaningful in attack from their opposition, but remains their second match on the spin that hasn’t gone as smoothly as they would have liked.