La Liga 123 Sunday Preview: Relegation scrap ensues in Week 32March 25, 2018
Sunday 25th March, 2018
11:00 Alcorcón (18th) v Gimnàstic (17th)
Do not be deceived by the league positions of these sides, as this is an important match for both. Alcorcón sit one place behind their opponents on 35 points, with the Catalan outfit a solitary point better off.
A slip by either of them could see them being dragged back into the relegation dog-fight as Cultural are two points behind in the final drop zone place.
Despite losing to Cádiz last week and drawing with Albacete yesterday, the men from León are playing attractive football and are waiting in the wings to punish a sub-par run from either of these teams.
The Potters aiming high
Alcorcón lost two goals in the final twenty minutes last week to succumb 2-1 away to Lugo, handing them their third loss in four matches.
A win today could see them leapfrog both Nàstic and Almería, the latter losing to Reus 1-0 yesterday, and possibly even Barcelona B if they fail to see their way past Osasuna in the 5pm kick-off.
Three points are vital here to Julio Velázquez’s side. A loss would mean they teeter on the brink of the relegation places for another week.
Nàstic enjoy road trips
Similarly, Gimnàstic’s stock has the potential to rise to 14th place with three points from this match, with a loss pushing them back towards the quicksand. It’s all to play for at the Santo Domingo as the battle to avoid the drop reaches boiling point.
The hosts narrowly edge the record against the Catalans, with four wins in their favour. Nàstic have triumphed twice and there have been three draws dating back to the 2010/11 season.
However, when one considers that the visitors still possess the best away record in the league, losing just once on their travels this year, that gives Nano Rivas’s side an undoubted edge.
15:00 Real Zaragoza (6th) v Sevilla Atlético (22nd)
This has the potential to be one of the most one-sided matches in the league so far this season. These two teams could not have more contrasting fortunes, and it is quite possibly the worst time that the Andalusians could hope to run into Real Zaragoza.
The home side are on their best run of the season, having not lost a match in eight outings. They have scored 15 goals and conceded five during this spell.
They have looked almost untouchable at La Romareda lately and have won all five of their last home matches.
Borja Iglesias is their leading scorer with 15 in the league to date, including a double against Osasuna last week.
Bottom side take on in-form Zaragoza
Visitors Sevilla Atlético are odds-on favourites to exit the division at the end of the season, as they are rooted to the bottom and have picked up only two wins all campaign. Only one of these have been away from home so their away record is paltry.
They are currently 16 points from safety, which is their current points total, so the outlook is beyond gloomy. In their last five matches, they have been beaten by a combined score of 12-2 so have problems at both ends of the field.
Interestingly though, Sevilla Atlético have never lost to Zaragoza. This could a significant test to keep that run going!
17:00 Barcelona B (15th) v Osasuna (10th)
Gerard’s Barça B have been masters of the draw of late, thus finding themselves treading water in mid-table.
Four of their last five matches coming into this contest against a stuffy Osasuna outfit have ended with honours even and needed a goal from defender Marc Cucurella to rescue a point away to Lorca last week.
They have proved to be very beatable at the Mini Estadi, losing four out of 15 matches there.
Marc Cardona misses out again, but he is back in training and should be available for the visit to Sevilla Atlético next week. Midfielder Sergi Samper continues to be sidelined with an ankle injury sustained in January and is not expected back until early June.
Full-strength Navarrese head to Barcelona
Osasuna were the latest to succumb to the Real Zaragoza juggernaut last week but gave a very good account of themselves and lost by a single goal.
Inconsistency, however, has been their downfall and they have only managed to put together two wins in a row twice this year. More is expected of the men from El Sadar.
If they take advantage of a lacklustre Barcelona B today, they could move into the playoff places with a win, by the tight nature of the chasing teams above them. They have a full squad to choose from.
19:00 Tenerife (12th) v Lorca (21st)
A run of three wins in a row for the Canary Islands side was brought to a crashing halt as they fell to a 2-0 loss away at Numancia in the previous round of matches.
They have the opportunity to get back on track against a struggling Lorca outfit who are currently on a miserable run of 15 consecutive matches without a win.
This has been a disappointing season for Joseba Exteberria’s side who finished fourth in the league last year. Their home form has been reasonable but, like so many of the sides in Liga 123 around them, they have let themselves down with patchy performances away from their own stadium.
Tenerife will be without the services of midfielders Aitor Sanz and Samuel Camille, along with Argentine defender.
Struggling Lorca face tough away trip
Lorca sit just three points above bottom side Sevilla Atlético and have won only one of their away fixtures this campaign.
They took the lead against Barcelona B last week at home but fell to a draw. They have no injury concerns ahead of this trip to Tenerife.
These two teams drew 2-2 each at Lorca in October last year in the only previous meetings between the clubs.
19:30 Granada (5th) v Numancia (8th)
Last week’s 2-1 loss at Real Oviedo was Granada’s third in a row and signalled the end of José Luis Oltra’s tenure at the helm of Granada.
Having slipped down to fifth in recent weeks, the Andalusians promoted Pedro Morilla from the B-team and he takes charge for the first time hoping to stop the rot.
They are still in with a good chance of promotion as they are in the play-off berths but wins by Real Zaragoza and Osasuna today could push them down to seventh place.
They have the advantage of playing at Los Cármenes, where they have won 11 out of 15 matches and have the third-best home record in the league.
There will be no honeymoon period for Morilla, as the fans will expect him to make an immediate impression as someone who knows the club well. Colombian attacker Adrián Ramos is out with a groin injury until mid-April.
Rojillos hope to build on recent win
Numancia beat a good Tenerife side 2-0 in their last outing and have collected seven points from a possible 15 recently.
They looked comfortable against the Canary Islands outfit, but not hugely threatening. In the absence of Manu del Moral, Pere Milla is their dangerman with six goals to his name.
They are missing Luis Valcarce, a victim of a cruciate ligament injury, and seven goal forward del Moral is a huge miss. He is expected to recover from his leg injury by mid-April.