Three days on from seeing a hard-earned point agonisingly slip from their grasp in the 81st minute at the Minestadi, Zaragoza will have taken great satisfaction after this game swung in their favour in the last 10 minutes. The early weeks of the campaign have been an uphill struggle for the Aragonese outfit who finally claimed a first win of the season here. In keeping with their fine early-season home form, it was fitting that Zaragoza's first win should come at the Pedro Sancho stadium, where they have already recorded draws against Atletico Madrid and Granadilla Egatesa this term. It's a safe bet that Zaragoza will take something from their home games regardless of the side that takes to the field. Indeed, head coach Alberto Berna is able to shuffle his pack with the confidence that the hosts will still pick up a positive result.
La Real, who came into the game looking for their second win on the bounce, certainly didn't make life easy for their hosts. Nahikari Garcia was at the double last time out against Rayo Vallecano, and despite getting her name on the scoresheet again here, it proved too little, too late. With the second half barely underway, Nahikari had the best chance of the game, and after having done all of the hard work in taking the ball past Patricia Larque in the Zaragoza goal, Natalia Cebolla raced back to prevent the striker from handing the visitors the lead. Manuela Lorea (Manu) constantly looked to wreak havoc in the hosts' backline, but she was well shackled by a Zaragoza outfit that pride themselves on their defensive organisation.
Berna's charges evidenced plenty of patience and bags of composure as Carla Martinez and Nuria Mallada came off the bench to inspire a late show. Alba Aznar made the breakthrough with a superb opportunist strike and minutes later Marta Cardona controlled the ball on a sixpence before finishing with an exquisite textbook chip. Nahikari then reduced the arrears with what turned out to be the last action of the game. This victory sees Zaragoza move level with La Real on five points, whilst the Basques are left to reflect on a third reverse of the season.
UD Tacuense 0-7 Atletico Madrid
It took Atletico just three minutes to get their noses in front against the Tenerife-based outfit on a day which was all about the Rojiblancas. The Madrilenians were intent on taking full advantage of Barcelona FC and Athletic Club's Champions League involvement to take top spot and they did so in emphatic fashion on a day when everything went right for the visitors.
There was a return to action for Rocio Galvez six months on from her last appearance and a competitive bow for Romanian goalkeeper, Andreea Paraluta, who was handed her debut 30 minutes into the second half by Atleti boss, Angel Villacampo, aka Villa. As if that wasn't enough, the visitors notched a hatful of goals, seven of them in total.
Esther Gonzalez hit a hat-trick to bring her season's tally in the Liga Iberdrola to seven, whilst there were a further two goals for Sonia Bermudez (Soni), who currently leads the division's goalscoring charts with 11 goals to her name. The Atleti striker, who has netted 10 goals in her last four outings, came within the width of the crossbar from claiming a hat-trick here. Elsewhere, Maria Pilar Leon, better known as Mapi,is showing herself to be an increasingly key member of the Atletico squad with every passing game and pulled off the feat of scoring directly from a corner here to make it 2-0 to the visitors. Atletico went in three goals to the good, courtesy of strikes from Esther, Mapi and Soni.
Later on in the game, Priscila Borja got in on the act with her second goal in as many games. Atleti come away from Tenerife with maximum points to capitalise on the draws for Valencia and Levante and move top of the pile, whilst this result sees Tacuense drop down a position into 14th.
F. Albacete 2-3 Granadilla Egatesa
Granadilla put points on the board for the fifth matchday on the bounce with this, their first away triumph of the campaign. As in all of their previous away assignments, Tony Ayala's side weren't given an easy ride. Albacete gave a worthy account of themselves and fought right until the death in their quest to claim three points. However, they were helpless to contend with the brilliance of hat-trick hero Luana Splinder.
The visitors raced into a 2-0 lead, before Tere Sanchez halved the deficit with a free-kick before half-time. Splinder was once again on the mark to claim her hat-trick, but it was the heroics of Noelia Gil in the Granadilla goal that ensured that the striker's exploits at the other end saw the visitors secure victory. The islanders' goalkeeper crucially denied Maltilde Martinez (Mati) from the spot with the visitors leading 3-1. The hosts did reduce the deficit, with the goal coming in the 90th minute through Carla Bautista, but things were all but over by that stage. These three points see the islanders move up into sixth, whilst Albacete drop down into 13th.
Sporting Huelva 1-1 Levante UD
It was honours even between Huelva and Levante as the hosts maintained their unbeaten home record. The Andalusians have recorded three draws from their opening three games on their own patch, having recorded stalemates against Athletic, Valencia and the Granotes.
With just seven minutes on the clock, Cristina Martin Prieto broke the deadlock, but the visitors hit back through Charlyn Corral, who has now found the net in each of the last four matchdays. Carol Marin was next left to rue her luck as she saw two shots - one before the interval and one after - come back off the crossbar. It proved to be one of those days for the Valencians, who were again left frustrated as a Maitane Lopez effort crashed off the bar in the dying stages. On the back of their four-game winning streak, Andres Tutela's side were made to settle for a draw here, which nevertheless serves to keep their undefeated record intact. Meanwhile, Sporting remain in the Copa de la Reina spots.
Rayo Vallecano 1-1 Santa Teresa CD
Rayo failed to register their first win of the campaign and remain rooted to the foot of the Liga Iberdrola table. Yet the point they took from their match against Santa Teresa isn't to be scoffed at, with the visitors currently sitting in the Copa de la Reina places, with three victories to their name so far this term.It was the home team that had the first cheer of the day, with Laura Dominguez (Laurita) putting the hosts ahead before the break. Before this encounter, the 19-year-old had only managed one goal so far this season. Santa Teresa struck back after the interval, with who else but Estefania Lima Diaz (Estefa) levelling the scores. The visitors went in search of a second goal, but despite their best efforts they were unable to secure victory. This draw gives Rayo their first point of the season and keeps Santa Teresa in the top half of the table.
Real Betis 0-0 Valencia CF
In the last minute of the game, with the scores level, goalkeeper Claudia Endler (Tiane) went up to take a free-kick – such was Valencia's desire to secure maximum points. The visitors weren't prepared to settle for a draw, but Betis managed the game well to put points on the board for a second successive matchday. After beating Oiartzun KE last time out, the Andalusians came away with a point against one of the Liga Iberdrola’s undefeated sides, a team who also hold the honour of not having conceded so far this season – their watertight defence has kept six clean sheets thus far.
The scores stayed level throughout the match, despite Tiane’s efforts at the death to snatch victory with a last-gasp free-kick. It was a very brave point earned by Betis, who along with Real Sociedad and Zaragoza have five points to their name, while Valencia's failure to win allowed Atletico to gain a two-point advantage over their rivals in the table.
*The Athletic Club v Oiartzun KE game and RCD Espanyol v FC Barcelona match were postponed on account of the Women's Champions League second-leg fixtures.
© LaLiga - Year 2016