There is simply no way to predict who will win when it comes to Sabadell and Mataro.
A heroic last quarter comeback from CN Mataro takes the Spanish women’s league play-off series to a third and final tie on 20th May with a 11-10 win in front of a chilly but impassioned home crowd.
Sabadell were the better side for three quarters, frustrating Mataro with some stellar defending and heading into the final quarter of the match two goals to the good (8-6). However, after holding on throughout the duel, an inspired showing from Dani Ballart’s side in the fourth turned the tide in the match. At the crucial juncture in the last minute, it was Mataro who were more incisive, and found the winner through Anni Espar’s 5m penalty.
Sabadell won the first match 10-8. Mataro’s win today levels up the tie at 1-1.
While Sabadell will have ached to wrap up the season and claim the league title on the Marseme coast, the neutral fan will be elated about another thirty-two minutes of title action between the continent’s top two clubs.
2022/2023 Spanish Women’s League, play-off, final
CN Mataro 11 – 10 Astralpool Sabadell (2-2, 2-3, 2-3, 5-2)
Mataro: E. Sanchez, S. Morell, S. Van de Kraats 2, A. Gual, V. Sevenich, R. Keszthelyi 3, C. Cambray, S. Avegno 1, Q. Bertran 1, A. Espar 4, M. Claveria, E. Herrera.
Sabadell: L. Ester, M. Ortiz, P. Leiton 1, S. Van der Sloot 1, I. Casado, M. Steffens 2, E. Ruiz 3, M. Garcia, J. Forca 1, B. Ortiz, N. Perez, I. Gonzalez 1, M. Carrasco
Both teams exhibited their prowess in long-range shooting right from the opening quarter. The strikes from Mataro’s Bertran and Espar were met with equally impressive responses from Sabadell’s Van der Sloot and Ruiz. The suspense heightened when Simone Van de Kraats’ attempt struck the frame of Laura Ester’s goal, leaving spectators on the edge of their seats.
Sabadell seized control in the second period with an exquisite lob executed by Irene Gonzalez, propelling them into the lead. Mataro swiftly responded as Keszthelyi levelled the score, but Sabadell countered with a swift burst of two goals. Elena Ruiz unleashed a blistering 6-metre shot, followed by Steffens finding the back of the net from close range, creating a 5-3 advantage and granting Sabadell some breathing space. Despite Sabadell’s ability to frustrate Mataro throughout the second quarter, their lead remained narrow at halftime, courtesy of Avegno’s driven shot.
The magnificent display of shooting continued as Rita Keszthelyi delivered consecutive goals, injecting much-needed momentum into Mataro. Yet, Sabadell responded resolutely, weathering the storm of Mataro’s attacks and answering emphatically with three goals, including a masterfully placed lob from Bea Ortiz, extending their lead to 8-6.
The fourth quarter intensified with Keszthelyi narrowing the gap for Mataro through a converted penalty, but Sabadell held their advantage as Steffens capitalised on a rebound, pushing the score to 9-7. With less than six minutes remaining, the entrance of Van de Kraats proved to be a game-changer as she stunned Laura Ester with two consecutive goals, equalising the score at 9-9. The electrifying atmosphere within the arena intensified as the match approached its enthralling conclusion. Forca and Espar, through their skillful execution of penalty strikes, ensured the score remained deadlocked at 10-10.
With tensions reaching a crescendo, Sabadell’s Ruiz came agonisingly close to clinching victory, striking the post with less than a minute remaining. However, in the ensuing play, Anni expertly converted a penalty for Mataro, finding the net with just 33 seconds left on the clock, securing a thrilling 11-10 victory in the dying moments of the match.
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