Liga F round up: Race for top three heating up

Sevilla's Maria Perez gestures during a match
Maria Perez gestures during the Spanish league football match between FC Barcelona and Sevilla FC (Photo by PAU BARRENA/AFP via Getty Images)

In a weekend where Barcelona cruised past rivals Real Madrid in Liga F, Levante and Atlético Madrid claimed crucial victories in the battle for the top three Champions League positions.

If you missed all the action from the 12th Clasico, you can catch up on Barcelona’s dominant 5-0 victory here. Meanwhile, we will round up the drama from the remaining seven matches of matchday nine of the Liga F season.

Costa Adeje Tenerife 0-1 Levante

Levante kicked off the weekend’s action with a narrow win over Tenerife. After playing out a goalless first half, the visitors broke the deadlock in the 49th minute despite the best efforts of Aline Reis. The Tenerife goalkeeper made a superb save to push Antônia’s close-range effort onto the post.

However, the rebound fell to Alba Redondo, who eventually dug the ball out of her feet to net her second league goal of the season. The result helped Levante move into third position and level on points with second-placed Real Madrid.

Real Sociedad 1-2 Sevilla

Sevilla celebrated a second straight victory after they beat 10-player Real Sociedad on Saturday. The visitors took the lead through Imba Gabarro in the 55th minute, just moments after Jacqueline Owusu had been sent off for two bookable offences.

Despite being left at a numerical disadvantage, the hosts hit back with just two minutes of regulation time remaining. Sevilla goalkeeper Esther Sullastres could only parry Nahia Aparicio’s dipping effort, allowing Synne Jensen to pounce on the rebound and pull her side level. There was to be one final twist, though, as María Pérez fired in a stoppage-time winner to send the visitors back to Andalucía with maximum points.

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Eibar 1-0 Sporting Club de Huelva

Huelva are still left waiting for their first win of the Liga F season after they were beaten by newly-promoted Eibar. Andrea Álvarez’s sublime strike decided a close-fought contest in the 70th minute. The Guatemalan, who was teed up by Andrea Sierra, curled an unstoppable first-time strike past the outstretched Zala Meršnik.

While Huelva remain rooted to the bottom of the table, Eibar move four points clear of the bottom two.

Valencia 2-1 Athletic Club

Valencia and Athletic Club both offered very little until the referee awarded a controversial penalty in the closing stages of the first period. After the official ruled Berta Pujadas had fouled Maite Zubieta, Clara Pinedo stepped up to dispatch the subsequent spot-kick. The hosts managed to restore parity in the 67th minute when Pauleta collected the ball on the edge of the box, before striking a superb half-volley past Adriana Nanclares.

With momentum in their favour, Valencia looked set to score the next goal. However, Athletic had other ideas, with substitute Patricia Zugasti netting a late winner to secure her side’s first away victory of the Liga F season.

Granada 1-2 Villarreal

In the battle of two relegation-threatened teams, it was Villarreal who came out on top against Granada. The hosts took the lead in the 51st minute when Ariadna Mingueza tucked the ball home from Laura Requena’s cut-back. Their slender advantage lasted just eight minutes before Kayla McKenna produced a looping header to restore parity.

With momentum in their favour, Villarreal went on to complete the turnaround as Bicho’s well-executed lob clinched all three points. Granada are left languishing in the drop zone, while Villarreal move four points clear of the bottom two.

Madrid CFF 1-4 Atlético Madrid

The two Madrid sides produced a thrilling start, with three goals arriving in the opening 12 minutes. Sheila Guijarro netted her sixth league goal of the campaign to get Atlético Madrid up and running. Rasheedat Ajibade quickly nodded in Atleti’s second, before Aldana Cometti headed home from a free-kick to halve the deficit.

Despite being pegged back, the visitors restored their two-goal cushion in the second half when Ana-Maria Crnogorčević teed up Leicy Santos to score her fourth goal of the Liga F season. Xènia Pérez then rounded off the scoring in stoppage time to claim back-to-back victories. The win helps Atleti climb above their opponents and into fourth position.

Real Betis 1-0 Levante Las Planas

The final game of matchday nine saw Real Betis record a narrow win over Levante Las Planas. Leles decided the contest in the closing stages of the first period when she drove a free-kick past Nayluisa Cáceres. Betis held firm to clinch a fourth consecutive victory in all competitions, while Levante Las Planas are left reeling from just their second defeat of the season.

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