Málaga CF off the bottom with two ‘finals’ left! Latest blog by Chelsea Ashurst!
Hey everyone – great to be back with you!
It’s been an exciting time for Málaga CF as we’re off the bottom of La Liga Iberdrola! The way we managed it was a bit strange, however, as we’ve only picked up one point in our two games since my last blog – a 6-0 defeat at title-chasing FC Barcelona and a 1-1 home draw with fellow strugglers Sporting Huelva – both of whom are ex-clubs of mine!
Starting with the Barça game, it was great to go there and catch up with some of the friends from my time at the club. As you’d expect against a team fighting to win the league (Editor’s note: Barça are three points behind leaders Atlético Madrid) we needed to do a lot of defending, but we kept our shape well and were only trailing 1-0 at the interval. The second half was a different matter, though, with Barcelona’s superior fitness and ability to bring players like Brazil’s Andressa Alves and Macedonia’s Nataša Andonova off the bench seeing them rack up five more goals.
We took heart from our first-half display, however, and knew that if we repeated that kind of commitment against Sporting Huelva we’d have a great chance of winning a real relegation ‘six-pointer’. And the game was as tough as we anticipated, a proper battle between two teams fighting for their top-flight status: lots of tackles, aerial duels and several yellow cards!
The first blow went our way too, centre-back Marta Cazalla popping up to head home Paula Fernández’s free kick on 23 minutes. Sporting came back at us hard, sending a lot of high balls forward, but my defenders and I stayed strong and it looked like we’d hold on for what would have been a huge three points. Yet come the third minute of injury time, Sporting had a free-kick in a dangerous position. I managed to pull off a great save to send the ball behind but, from the corner, disaster struck – Sandra Bernal’s goal snatching a point for the visitors in the 94th minute!
It was a sickening goal to concede, as a win would have given our survival chances a huge boost, but in the end – thanks to defeats for Madrid CFF and Fundación Albacete – one point was enough to drag us above them both and out of the relegation zone, though only thanks to our head-to-head record. All three of us have 21 points and we’ve two tough games left – Athletic Bilbao away and then Rayo Vallecano at home…
Turning back to my time at Barça and my second season with the club (2014/15), and we were determined to keep the success coming – having won the Liga and Copa de la Reina in 2013/14. After a good summer break, I went back to Barcelona with my batteries fully charges and, armed with the experience of knowing what to expect, pre-season fitness training was a lot less daunting than it had been the previous year!
Looking back, it was a real pleasure to be a part of that squad – training every day with genuine top-class players like Vicky Losada, Virginia Torrecilla, Alexia Putellas, Jenni Hermoso, Ruth García and Marta Torrejón – to name just a few! Again I was second-choice behind the experienced Laura Ràfols, but again coach Xavi Llorens did give me some opportunities to fill in.
Join me next time to see how Barça and I got on in the race for Liga, Copa de la Reina and UEFA Women’s Champions League titles in 2014/15 and for the latest on Málaga’s battle to stay in La Liga Iberdrola!
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