Defending champions Barcelona continued with their fine run dismissing Sporting Huelva 5-0 at the Estadi Johan Cruyff on Wednesday. Sporting Huelva held their fort for over half an hour before their defence was breached in the 34th minute when forward Lieke Martens gave the hosts the lead off defender Irene Paredes’ pass. Martens returned to haunt the visitors in the 62nd and 73rd minutes to complete her hattrick and give Barcelona a three-goal cushion, with forward Asisat Oshoala assisting the third goal. The hattrick took Martens’ season’s goal tally to 15 and to the top of the scorers’ charts.

Skipper Alexia Putellas, who missed last weekend’s match due to a Covid-19 positive test, was quickly involved in the thick of things barely a minute after coming on for fellow midfielder Patri Guijarro, assisting forward Fridolina Rolfö for Barcelona’s fourth goal in the 75th minute. Putellas was back four minutes later to increase the score line to 5-0 in the 79th minute off Martens’ pass, to take her season’s goal tally to 13. So, it was an assist and a goal on the midfielder’s return from isolation. The win took Barcelona to 51 points and two goals shy of reaching 100 goals after just 17 matches of the season.

Elsewhere, Atlético Madrid were back in action on Wednesday and humbled Villarreal by a 5-0 win at the Ciudad Deportiva to keep their Champions League football hopes alive. The visitors opened the scoring in the 24th minute when forward Deyna Castellanos latched onto midfielder Amanda Sampedro’s pass. They doubled their lead seven minutes later through defender Aïssatou Tounkara’s strike off a Deyna Castellanos pass. Two minutes before the break midfielder Leicy Santos set up forward Rasheedat Ajibade to make it 3-0.

The match proved to be one sided as it was evident there was no coming back for the hosts. The hosts made a double substitution at the break, bringing on midfielder Yenifer Gimenez and forward Estefanía Lima for midfielder Irene Miguélez and forward Sara Medina respectively. Seven minutes into the second half the visitors added a fourth goal through forward Rasheedat Ajibade to complete her brace. 20 minutes before time, Atlético won a penalty which was converted by midfielder Amanda Sampedro to wrap up the match. Villarreal defender Olivia Oprea received a booking for conceding the spot kick. The win took Atlético’s points tally to 31 with two games in hand.

Champions League spots still up for grabs

Second-placed Real Sociedad were 3-0 winners over Valencia at the Estadio Antonio Puchades on Wednesday evening to keep alive their Champions League hopes which are still far from being confirmed. The visitors made their intentions known as early as the fifth minute when forward Allegra Poljak gave them the lead off midfielder Izarne Sarasola’s pass. Defender Amaiur Sarriegi then gave the visitors a two-goal advantage with a strike in the 21st minute.

The hosts made two changes at the break, bringing on midfielders Dominika Čonč and Anna Torrodà for Marta Carro and Lina Salmi respectively, hoping for a change of fortunes with new pairs of legs. Forward Allegra Poljak scored her second goal of the match in the 64th minute to wrap up the match and kill the hopes of a comeback by Valencia. The win took the visitors to 40 points whilst the hosts are still in 12th position with 14 points.

Alavés were 2-1 winners over Madrid CFF at the Ciudad Deportiva José Luis Compañón on Wednesday. The hosts found the opener through forward Lice Chamorro in the 25th minute. They doubled the lead in the 61st minute through defender Osinachi Ohale. The visitors tried to claw back into the match but found the hosts’ defence resolute. They, however, got their consolation goal from forward and club top scorer Geyse Ferreira in the 98th minute when she struck the back of the net off midfielder Ebba Hed’s pass to take her season’s goals tally to 12 goals. Alavés are enjoying their maiden season in the Primera Iberdrola, finding themselves in fifth position after 17 games.

Athletic Club forced a one-all draw against visiting Real Betis at the Instalaciones de Lezama Campo 1 on Wednesday night. The visitors took the lead through midfielder Grace Asantewaa in the 25th minute before the hosts equalised with six minutes remaining through forward Ane Azkona Fuente. Although the hosts maintained an unbeaten run against the visitors, the draw was not enough for them to keep track of the teams above them in their fight for a top three finish. On the other hand, Betis will be satisfied with the draw, though they will be disappointed by their lack of concentration in the last six minutes before full time.

Relegation battle hots up as Rayo Vallecano find themselves in trouble

Rayo Vallecano succumbed to a 2-1 defeat to Sevilla away at the Ramon Cisneros Palacios on Wednesday. It took 24 minutes for the hosts to break the deadlock when forward Jessica Martinez connected a pass from defender Deborah García to give the hosts the lead. The visitors fought back and were duly rewarded in the 73rd minute when forward Isadora Damasceno Freitas equalised. The hosts went into the lead in the 84th minute when forward Eli del Estal struck the back of the net. The visitors have been struggling this season and find themselves at the bottom of the standings with just five points from 16 matches.

Eibar lost 2-1 to Levante at the Unbe Sports Complex on Wednesday. The two teams played well in the first half and went for the break level. Three minutes after the break, the visitors took the lead through forward Giovanna Crivelari. The hosts fought back and equalised with fifteen minutes remaining through defender Queralt Gómez. Eibar were punished for lack of concentration in the 86th minute when defender Leire Baños restored the visitors’ lead. The defeat leaves Eibar needing a miracle to survive the chop as they are only three points above relegation zone whilst Levante moved up one place to ninth after the win.

Results (Wednesday): Eibar 1-2 Levante; Villarreal 0-5 Atlético Madrid; Barcelona 5-0 Sporting Huelva; Sevilla 2-1 Rayo Vallecano; Valencia 0-3 Real Sociedad; Alavés 2-1 Madrid CFF; Athletic Club 1-1 Real Betis.

(Photo By Irina R. Hipolito/Europa Press via Getty Images)