This time, Villarreal visited Murcian lands to go against Alhama, one of the difficult teams in the group and new home of former Villarreal player Nazaret Segura. Sara Monforte decided to repeat almost the same squad as from the victory against Femarguín.
The starters were all the same besides one: Cristina entered into the starting XI in the place of Sara Medina, who would wait in the bench her opportunity. Also, Cienfuegos played near the right sideline instead of the other side and Miguélez and Olivia traded their position from last week. As this match was more challenging, the formation was cut clear compared to Femarguín. A 4-3-3 with a false 9 in Sheila that in defense was a 4-1-4-1 with both Laura Royo and Salma tracking back to help in defense.
The first half was more of a feeling out phase, with no clear chances for any of them. Both were measuring their strengthes while trying to win the midfield battle to control the match. Villarreal tried to move the ball side to side, and this time were not so clearly targeting the long balls to Salma, who was also tighly marked. Of note, Sheila didn’t manage to create the superiority tracking back when in possession compared to Femarguín which showed on the attack. Near the end of the half, Salma changed position with Laura to try her luck on the right side.
The halftime not only made clear the change of Salma, but Monforte decided to introduce into the game Sara Martínez for Laura Royo, and keep Salma on the right. Villarreal started to get some more chances, as Alhama also got some of them. Monforte saw it needed more changes, and brought in Argentinian Coronel into the mix, retiring Cristina from the field. As the time was advancing, a ball from Albeta to Sara, who after shielding it tries to make a run with it, as the defense goes against her, a series of rebounds make the ball land on Salma’s feet who was alone advanced, in what could have been offside but the lineman didn’t appreciate it, and Salma managed to scored putting Villarreal ahead. Not long after this goal, a corner kick taken by Cienfuegos who puts it to the first post and the captain, Lara Mata, puts it in.
At that moment Villarreal was already in dominance, and it showed, as not long after the second goal, Salma captured a loose ball in the area to put the definitive 0-3 on the scoreboard. With this, Salma has scored 5 goals in 169 minutes played so far this season putting herself as the top scorer of the group, with the fun fact of she being also the player with most goals scored of the whole league (reminder, two groups divided in two subgroups, so four groupings).
Villarreal leads the group with 9 points, having won all matches they have played so far. Of interest will be their match against Albacete, the other troublesome team they have in the group, but for now they must be focused on their next rival, Aldaia.
Updates on Villarreal B and C
Villarreal B also met the win against SMX Athletic Club de Murcia with a scoreboard of 2-6 in their favor, a match where they were already leading 1-3 into halftime in a match which saw former Villarreal A player Maria Colonques scored her first goals of the season with a brace. Laura Jarque, Tere Ibañez, Marta Querol and Vera Rico were also the scorers. With this goal, Vera Rico puts herself at 4, only one behind the joint top scorers of the group Inés Rizo (Elche) and Cristina Romera (Discóbolo-La Torre)
With this win, Villarreal puts themselves near the top position that would allow for a promotion, which could be great if the A team gets into Liga Iberdrola for next season. This week they will rest as the group is odd (15 teams) and will return into action next week against Elche.
Villarreal C, as last week, didn’t play due to COVID-19 (I suppose), so now they have two postponed matches, last week against Rafelbunyol and this one against Mislata B. One easy and one hard match-up, respectively. This Saturday, they visit SPAL B in Alicante, a difficult match for them.