Sabadell have defeated Mataro 8-6 in a thrilling Copa de la Reina final that sees them lift the trophy for the 18th time.
Today’s final was the latest of yet another clash between two world class rosters, in what is turning into the biggest and most exciting rivalry in the women’s game.
The game was certainly fitting for a cup final between two of Europe’s best clubs. It’s often a cliche to say a game was a rollercoaster ride, but the shifting momentum in this clash was so temperamental, the outcome of the match was only settled with Van der Sloot’s decisive goal inside the last forty seconds.
There were mammoth performances at both ends of the pool. Elena Sanchez in the Mataro goal had a pretty special game, but she could do nothing at times against the firepower of Bea Ortiz (3 goals), Elena Ruiz (2 goals) and the eventual match winner, Sabrina Van der Sloot (2 goals).
Both defences were sensational at times. Mataro’s zone defence proved difficult to penetrate in the first half, while Sabadell’s efforts without the ball in the second half were decisive in securing their victory. Despite being heavily penalised with exclusions, Sabadell’s defensive prowess and tenacity proved to be the difference, earning them their 18th Copa de la Reina title.
While Sabadell will celebrate another string to their bow, Mataro can be proud of the part they played in another amazing spectacle. They will need to perform at the same levels if they are to see off Olympiacos in their Champions League quarter final 2nd leg.
Astralpool Sabadell 8 – 6 CN Mataro (2-1, 0-3, 4-0, 2-2)
Sabadell: L. Ester, M. Ortiz, P. Leiton, S. Van der Sloot 2, M. Serrano, M. Steffens, E. Ruiz 2, M. Garcia 1, J. Forca, B. Ortiz 3, N. Perez, I. Gonzalez, M. Carrasco
Mataro: E. Sanchez, S. Morell, S. Van de Kraats 2, A. Gual, V. Sevenich 1, R. Keszthelyi-Nagy 1, C. Cambray, C. Nogue 1, S. Avegno 1, Q. Bertran, A. Espar, M. Claveria, E. Carmona Herrera
In the opening stages of the match, Mataro struggled to find their rhythm, and it was Sabadell who seized the initiative, creating several dangerous opportunities that tested Dani Ballart’s team. Despite Sabadell’s dominance, they were guilty of squandering a few half-chances, but Mataro’s ill-discipline in defence provided them with the opportunity to apply the pressure and take control of the game.
Sabadell’s Bea Ortiz found the back of the net twice from the right-side, with both goals assisted by Elena Ruiz. Mataro, on the other hand, were slow to get off the mark, and it was not until Cristina Nogue’s close-range prod home that they opened their account (2-1).
There was a marked shift in momentum in the second quarter, as an apprehensive Sabadell couldn’t find a way past a secure Mataro defence, led by three outstanding pieces of defending from Simone van de Kraats (two steals, one crucial block).
Mataro certainly improved in the offensive areas, and found three consecutive scores. Van de Kraats was never going to miss her 5 metre penalty, Vivian Sevenich guided the ball home from close range on the 6 on 5, before Rita Keszthelyi-Nagy converted a rapid counter-attack on the left side (4-2).
The stakes felt much higher in the third, and thanks to some lethal finishing and a few key decisions, the game swung in Sabadell’s favour, and it was now Mataro’s turn to feel the pressure, with Sabadell finding the back of the net with four consecutive scores, putting Mataro on the back foot.
Sabrina Van der Sloot’s powerful shot was judged to have crossed the line by VAR, before Van de Kraats’ seemingly excellent goal was ruled out for a contra foul elsewhere. Mataro had defended well up to this point, but it was clear that something special was needed to unlock the Maresme’s defence.
Fortunately for Sabadell, they had just the players to do it. Elena Ruiz and Bea Ortiz, both products of CN Rubi’s academy, produced excellently placed shots that shattered the crossbar before evading Elena Sanchez in the Mataro goal.
Maica Garcia, who had been a mere spectator until this point, added Sabadell’s sixth goal to give David Palma’s team a two-goal lead heading into the last quarter.
Despite having time to mount a comeback, Mataro struggled to reignite their attacking assets in the face of a formidable defense from Sabadell. The reigning champions did manage to pull themselves back within a score, with Silvia Avegno and Simone Van de Kraats scoring twice, firstly at 6-5, and then at 7-5. However, with only forty seconds left on the clock, Sabrina Van der Sloot produced a moment of sheer brilliance that had the Sabadell fans and bench in a state of euphoria.
Her beautifully delicate lob was a true work of art, perfectly executed to catch Elena Sanchez off guard and secure Sabadell’s victory. It was a moment that perfectly encapsulated the skill, precision, and class on show in the duel. While Mataro may have been disappointed with the result, they can hold their heads high after a hard-fought battle, while Sabadell can bask in the glory of a well-deserved victory.
2023 – Sabadell
2022 – Mataro
2017-2021 – Sabadell
2016 – Mataro
2008-2015 – Sabadell
2006, 2007 – Alcorcon
2004, 2005 – Sabadell
2003 – Mediterrani
2001, 2002 – Sabadell
1997-2000 – Mediterrani
Read more about the Women’s Water Polo in Spain