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Copa de la Reina: Tacón huff and puff and blow Rayo away

CD Tacón look towards the quarterfinals after seeing off Rayo Vallecano.

Women Spanish Cup: CD Tacon V Rayo Vallecano Photo by Oscar J. Barroso / AFP7 / Europa Press Sports via Getty Images

Rayo Vallecano Femenino may be a spot further up the table in the Primera Iberdrola but that was not enough to see them past Club Deportivo Tacón, who had just enough to grab a 1-0 win. Those at the Estadio Alfredo Di Stéfano this afternoon saw chances fall predominantly to the hosts, but they could only find the back of the net in the 44th minute, thanks to Jessica Martínez.

Nothing to write home about in the first half

The first 45 minutes were not great viewing for anyone who decided to follow the match today. Neither side could find enough fluency in their attacks to pose a constant threat and it seemed as though the backlines would come out on top today. No matter what CD Tacón tried, Rayo’s defenders stood firm and would not let them get any space in front of their goal.

It took a well-floated cross in the 44th minute to finally break the deadlock. Esther Martín-Pozuelo came down the left-hand side and put in a cross that found Martínez. The Paraguayan rose highest and powered her header past a helpless Patricia Larqué.

Rayo push but find no reward

The second half saw both sides look to score more goals but again, nothing was forthcoming. This time, it was more of the attackers not quite being on their best game today than the strength of both backlines, as it was in the first half. Wayward shots were the story of the second half as chances came by easier for the two teams but the score remained at 1-0.

Rayo have always shown to be a solid team this season but when they need to push for goals, they have not been able to turn their chances into goals. Slađana Bulatović and Oriana Altuve (Rayo’s leading goalscorer) should have at least equalised for the away side but neither player could find a way past Sara Ezquerro in goal for Tacón. It left Rayo feeling like this was an opportunity missed when the whistle blew at full time.

No Asllani, no party.

With the likes of Sofia Jakobsson and Chioma Ubogagu (albeit on the bench) within their ranks, you would think that Tacón would have more goals than they currently have this season. Once again, an uninspired midfield made it difficult for Jakobsson to make an impact in this match and when Ubogagu came on, she didn’t have much joy either. When Kosovare Asllani is unavailable, Tacón look almost helpless in midfield. As it is, Asllani was not in the 19-player squad named for today’s Copa de la Reina match and no one else stepped up to replace her creativity. The likes of Thaisa and Aurélie Kaci were not at their best today which meant that the Tacón did not get the ball in areas where they could hurt Rayo.

It took a defender surging up the field to make the difference and provide Tacón’s frontline with the right service and when it came, they finished it with aplomb.

Women Spanish Cup: CD Tacon V Rayo Vallecano Photo by Oscar J. Barroso / AFP7 / Europa Press Sports via Getty Images

Altuve silenced

The same situation could be applied to Rayo Vallecano today as well. Oriana Altuve has eleven goals so far this season, second only to FC Barcelona Femení’s high flying Jenni Hermoso and Asisat Oshoala. In a lot of instances, Altuve has had to create her own luck up top for Rayo but today, the home side made sure that she only had one clear chance the entire match. When Altuve does not find the back of the net, not many of Rayo’s other attackers can provide the same clinical edge. Tacón realised this, planned it tactically and executed it perfectly.

El Derbi Madrileño on the horizon?

Atlético Madrid Femenino play their Round of 16 match in the Copa de la Reina tomorrow and if they win, as expected, against Real Betis Féminas, the potential of a Madrid derby is in the offing. When the two sides met in the Primera Iberdrola, Atlético Madrid had to fight hard to get their 2-1 win. Atléti are not performing at the standard we are used to seeing this season and while Tacón are still trying to find their footing at highest level, they could cause the upset if they take their chances. Nothing has been confirmed yet but the prospect of a Madrid derby in a knock-out match will definitely attract attention in Spain.