Real Madrid needed a last-minute winner from substitute forward Lorena Navarro to edge Levante 1-0 at the Estadio Alfredo Di Stefano on Saturday.
The 81st minute double substitution where Madrid threw in attacking players Carla Camacho and Lorena Navarro for midfielder Athenea del Castillo and defender Kenti Robles respectively proved a masterstroke.
The match had looked as if it was going for a stalemate until Navarro decided it in the last minute of regulation time to send Madrid fourth on 47 points with a game in hand whilst Levante find themselves seventh with 35 points.
The win boosted their chances of another dance in continental football next season.
Elsewhere, champions Barcelona came from behind to win 2-1 against Madrid CFF away at the Estadio Municipal Nuevo Matapiñonera on Saturday.
The champions had a scare and their winning streak in danger when forward Geyse Ferreira gave the hosts an early lead in the third minute to take her season goal tally to 19. Ferreira is now joint-top scorer with injured Barcelona forward Asisat Oshoala.
The visitors had a much-changed side with only a few notable faces that included forward Jenni Hermoso in the starting line-up.
Hermoso equalised in the 38th minute to ensure that their unbeaten run was intact and she turned provider three minutes into the second half when substitute midfielder Alexia Putellas gave the visitors the lead for the first time on the day to take their winning streak to 25 games.
The goal took the skipper’s tally to 17 goals and her total goal contribution to 31 for the visitors this season.
The win secured Barcelona’s 100% record this season whilst it was a bitter pill to swallow for Madrid CFF who remain in danger of relegation with 23 points from 25 games.
Atlético Madrid, Real Sociedad win as Tenerife held
Third-placed Atlético Madrid beat struggling Valencia 3-0 at the Estadio Wanda Atlético de Madrid Alcalá de Henares on Saturday.
The hosts scored two goals in two minutes to take a two-nil lead to the break.
Defender Laia Aleixandri gave the hosts the lead in the 42nd minute before midfielder Bárbara Latorre doubled the lead two minutes later.
There was no coming back for Valencia when the hosts tripled the lead a minute after the resumption when defender Sheila García finished off a pass from midfielder Deyna Castellanos.
The win kept them in third position, only two points above fourth-placed Real Madrid who have a game in hand, whilst the defeat left Valencia hoping for a miracle to survive relegation being only five points above relegation zone with five games left.
Second-placed Real Sociedad left it late narrowly beating Sporting Huelva 2-1 away at the Campo Federativo de la Orden on Sunday.
The visitors took an early lead in the fourth minute when forward Sanni Franssi finished a pass from midfielder Gemma Gili before the hosts hit back in the 16th minute through forward Anita Marcos who turned in fellow forward Hannah Keane’s pass.
With only nine minutes left on the clock forward Amaiur Sarriegi’s strike restored the visitors’ lead and secured maximum points for them.
The win meant that they maintain their seven-point gap with the third-placed team with only five matches left whilst the defeat left the hosts only five points above relegation zone.
UDG Tenerife dropped to fifth on the standings after they were held to a goalless draw by Real Betis at the Estadio La Palmera on Sunday.
Tenerife were once on course to finish in the top three until they lost two games against their fellow top three contenders Atlético Madrid and Real Madrid which changed the course of their campaign.
The draw on Sunday left them tied on 47 points with fourth-placed Real Madrid having played a game more whilst Real Betis gained a point being 10th on 28 points.
Villarreal hopeful as Eibar and Rayo continue to struggle
Villarreal boosted their relegation survival chances with a late equaliser to earn a point in a one-all draw against Athletic Club at the Ciudad Deportiva on Saturday.
Athletic Club took the lead in the 61st minute through midfielder Clara Pinedo who thought she had given her side the maximum points only for the hosts to equalise three minutes into added time through midfielder Estefanía Lima who finished a pass from defender Lara Mata.
The point gained took Villarreal’s points to 24, eight above relegation zone whilst Athletic Club remains sixth on 40 points.
Sevilla complicated Eibar’s chances of surviving relegation when they beat them 4-1 at the Ramón Cisneros Palacios on Saturday.
The hosts took the lead as early as the 14th minute when forward Jessica Martínez finished a pass from midfielder Toni Payne before the visitors equalised three minutes later through forward Carmen Álvarez.
The hosts regained their lead seven minutes before half-time through defender Teresa Mérida. It was 3-1 to the hosts in the 56th minute through defender Rosa Otermín before midfielder Karen Araya took the game beyond Eibar’s reach when she made it 4-1 six minutes later.
The win moved Sevilla into the top eight on 32 points whilst Eibar remained on 15th with 16 points and are facing the risk of relegation.
Alavés finally registered a win after they beat Rayo Vallecano 3-1 at home at the Ciudad Deportiva José Luis Compañón on Saturday.
Rayo took the lead in the 16th minute through midfielder Isadora Damasceno Freitas and went to half-time leading 1-0.
Five minutes into the second half the hosts levelled the scores through forward Lice Chamorro before midfielder Miku Ito gave them the lead in the 56th minute.
The assurance goal for the hosts came from the boot of forward Ane Miren Martínez in the 68th minute.
The win moved Alavés to ninth with 30 points and they have a chance to move to eighth if they win their midweek game in hand whilst Rayo remains bottom with only 11 points from 24 matches.
Results (Saturday): Madrid CFF 1-2 Barcelona; Sevilla4-1 Eibar; Real Madrid 1-0 Levante; Atlético Madrid 3-0 Valencia; Alavés 3-1 Rayo Vallecano; Villarreal 1-1 Athletic Club
Results (Sunday): Sporting Huelva 1-2 Real Sociedad; UDG Tenerife 0-0 Real Betis