CD Tacón got their participation in the Copa de la Reina (the Queen’s Cup — the equivalent of the Copa del Rey) off to a great start with a 1-0 victory over 8th-placed Rayo Vallecano (Tacón are 9th in La Primera Iberdrola).
David Aznar rotated a bit after the exciting derby victory over Madrid CFF, with Jessica Martínez moving up top to replace Kosovare Asllani, Lorena Navarro slotting in on the right, Thaisa returning to midfied, Ainoa Campo shifting back into defense in place of Daiane, and back-up keeper Sara Ezquerro stepping in for Yohana.
Rayo played an extremely passive defensive game — they declined to press and allowed Tacón to freely circulate the ball out of the back. Given Las Blancas’ struggles when building up against concerted pressure, this put David Aznar’s team in a comfortable position; they dominated possession and had plenty of time to pick out their preferred pass.
However, Tacón failed to do a lot with the ball. As expected, the home side preferred to play passes down the line to Jakobsson, who would look to use her superior one-versus-one ability to create separation for a cross. Thanks to Malena Cruz’s narrow positioning, the pass into the channel was always there, but the very nature of that type of attack limited Tacón’s offensive production. It didn’t help, either, that Tacón had no other way of trying to penetrate Rayo’s defensive shape.
It wasn’t until the 39th minute that Las Blancas finally created something real — right back Babett Peter got free and put in a cross that Malena somehow missed from point blank range.
Tacón got a chance to course-correct right before half-time, when left back Esther had an eternity to put in a cross. Jessica Martínez made a clever run from the blind-side of her defender and dispatched the delivery expertly.
Se adelanta el Tacon al borde del descanso. Centro de Esther que remata Jessica Martínez. Lo merecían las locales, partido controlado por ellas salvo alguna contra puntual. pic.twitter.com/T6WVPqyR13— Chantal Reyes (@cchantalreyes) February 11, 2020
Rayo’s collective defending was quite poor, but Tacón had been unable to exploit those instances until that moment.
The opening minutes of the restart was a brutal battle for control of the ball — something no team truly established for the rest of the game. Rayo’s urgency to get back into the match created more turnovers and fifty-fifty duels that hampered Tacón’s monopoly over possession and allowed the away side to progress into the attacking third.
Substitute Oriana Altuve managed to find space between the lines and fire off a couple of long shots, but they rarely troubled goalkeeper Sara. Instead, Rayo created the most trouble from set-pieces. In the 36th minute, they created the best chance of the game (up until that point) after one of their players was left free to head wide of goal. The second half saw many more opportunities like this, with Aurélie Kaci being forced to clear close to the line around the hour mark.
As the game progressed to its final stages, Rayo began to push forward more and more with less desire to track back. This gave Tacón plenty of space to counter into, which they disappointingly failed to take advantage of.
With both teams lacking the incisiveness to score another goal, the game ended 1-0, giving Tacón the victory.
The result puts Las Blancas in the Quarter-Finals, though they must first turn their attentions to their league encounter against 14th-placed Valencia on Sunday.
You can watch the first half replay here and the second half replay here.