Following the traditional winter break, Atlético Femenino kept the pedal to the metal and won four straight fixtures to start the new year. Atlético managed to net 11 goals and conceded only two, which underlined the resilience the team has played with throughout the season. Courtesy of the 12 points won over those first four fixtures, Atleti are atop the championship at 48 points, four points above title contenders and rivals Barcelona.
The first match of 2017 was away to Real Sociedad. La Real’s ladies gave Atleti’s ladies a run for their money, even though los colchoneros highlighted their quality and superiority over the course of the 90 minutes. Sonia Bermudez was once again the hero, as she scored the decisive goal past the half-hour mark, with an assist from former Arsenal player Marta Corredera.
For the rest of the match, Atlético preserved the lead despite Sociedad’s pressure. The visitors’ defensive organization proved too much for their opponents to surpass in the end.
In the meantime, eight Atleti players were called up for national team duties, as Spain faced Switzerland in friendly international. The Red Fury hammered the Swiss 8-1, in a match which will serve as a boost for the Spaniards ahead of their UEFA Women’s Euro 2017 commitments next summer.
With the international break concluded, Atlético returned on the field and crossed swords with Rayo Vallecano. In this game, 19-year-old striker Andrea Falcon made her debut after the replacing the injured Priscila Borja, accompanying Sonia Bermudez up front. And it was Falcon who put Atleti in front early in the second half after an intense opening 45 minutes. Shortly after, Bermudez doubled the lead for Angel Villacampa’s team. Amanda Sampedro wrapped up the victory with the third goal to preserve Atleti’s leadership at the top of the Spanish championship.
In the meantime, Bermudez was awarded the MVP award as the best player in the first round, as she piloted the leaders’ attack courtesy of her 17 goals.
Against Real Zaragoza, Atleti won 5-1 to register a goleada and bolster the title hopes. After 11 minutes, Villacampa’s team were already three goals up after Correderea, Bermudez and Sampedro scored. In the second 45 minutes, Bermudez and Genoveva Añonma added two more to add some sheen to the result..
Añonma is an interesting case. She joined the Femenino ranks back in November from Korean side Suwon Women’s Football Club. An Equatorial Guinea international, she won two African Cup of Nations tournaments with them and also captained the team during the 2011 FIFA World Cup in Germany, where she received media attention for her colourful hair.
Last Saturday, Atleti faced Espanyol at the Sports City Dani Jarque and earned a 2-1 courtesy courtesy of the goals from Esther Rodriguez and Priscila. The result keeps them above Barça in the title race, and Villacampa’s charges will hope to expand that lead against Albacete Fundacion on Sunday.