Liga 123 Week 35: Reus end their losing run, whilst Barca B are in real trouble

Liga 123 Week 35: Reus end their losing run, whilst Barca B are in real trouble

April 17, 2018 Off By Martin Devlin

In the opening contest, Reus ended a two-match losing slide and pulled off a shock in the process as they overcame fourth-placed Cádiz 1-0 at the Estadi Municipal.  Dejan Lekic’s strike five minutes into the second half was the difference.  The first half was goalless, but the Gaditanos felt they should have had a penalty as Reus captain Jesús Olmo appeared to handle a cross in his own box, although the appeals were waved away.

The hosts had a claim for a penalty turned down too, early in the second half.  Cádiz defender seemed to pull Pablo Íñiguez down in the box by his arm as a cross came in.  The ball fell to Olmo who fired wide as his team-mates protested.  The breakthrough came on the 50th minute as French midfielder Karim Yoda fed the ball through to Álex Carbonell.

His deft, curling effort was parried by visiting goalkeeper Alberto Cifuentes but it fell to an unmarked Lekic who stabbed home at the far post.  Álvaro Cervera’s side has now gone winless in their last four matches, a stretch that has seen their title bid falter, and they drop one place to fifth.  Reus rise one spot to 14th.

Two early goals split between the sides earned a point apiece for Lorca and Alcorcón down in Murcia.  The visitors opened the scoring through Jonathan Pereira in the second minute, as he converted Laure’s ball into the box by finding the net low down to the right from the close range. Eight minutes later Fabri’s side were back on level terms through Javier Muñoz.

Alcorcón goalkeeper Casto Espinosa deflected a close-range header from Lorca forward Dani Ojeda but Muñoz was lurking at the back post to tap home and even the score.  Lorca were made to sweat for 24 hours as a Sevilla Atlético win the following day could have seen them slip to bottom of the table, but the Andalusians could only draw, and the sides remain level on 23 points with Lorca in 21st place courtesy of goal difference.  Alcorcón jump one place to 15th.

Numancia continued their ascendency towards the upper reaches of the table as they saw off Lugo courtesy of a late double from Higinio Marín.  The first came twelve minutes from time, netting his second with a minute left.  The first half was a quiet affair, but after the break the hosts – and Marín in particular – came alive.

Firstly, the forward connected with a cross from the left from midfielder Marc Mateu, but he steered his header wide.  Minutes later, an exact copy of the build-up yielded more success as Marín nodded Mateu’s cross past Juan Carlos to open the scoring.  Soon after, he powered into the box but the ‘keeper was able to repel his effort.  However, the visitors failed to heed the earlier warnings and Marín grabbed his, and his side’s, second when a freekick into the box found him unmarked between two defenders on the six-yard line and he guided his header perfectly into the net.

Los Numantinos have now recorded four wins in their last five matches and have risen from eighth to fourth in recent weeks.  On the other hand, Lugo endured their third consecutive loss and sees them loiter in mid-table.

One of the biggest surprises of the week came when Cultural Leonesa raced to a three-goal lead over Tenerife in the first half and held on to emerge victorious by a score of 3-2.  The men from León secured their second win in a row following last week’s 1-0 decision over Barcelona B.  Goals from Mario Ortiz opened the scoring when he drove the ball across the face of goal and somehow found the corner of the net from a seemingly impossible angle.

Josep Señé added a header on 23 minutes when he guided home a cross from the right.  The pick of them all came on 38 minutes when Ángel García waltzed between numerous defenders in the box and curled home a fine effort to stun the Insulares.  They mounted a comeback which began two minutes before the break through Álex Mula’s fifth goal of the season.  The ball fell to him in the box and he steadied himself before lashing a right foot shot past Jorge Palatsí.

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Shortly after the hour mark, Victor Casadesús grabbed the islanders’ second after the took advantage of a poor clearance from Palatsí and lobbed the goalkeeper with his return.  This made for a nervy closing half an hour but La Cultu managed to hang on for a fine win, which did their bid for survival the power of good.  They left the drop zone and sit in 18th, two points ahead of Barcelona B.  Tenerife did not lose any ground, despite this result, and remain in ninth.

Osasuna and Córdoba played out an entertaining draw at El Sadar in the early Sunday fixture.  The hosts had dropped a place to tenth last week following their draw at home to Granada and they were held again by a plucky Córdoba who have now lost only once in their last eight matches and show real promise of breaking out of the relegation zone.  They took the lead on 18 minutes through Javi Galán whose close-range effort went in off the post.

Borja Lasso equalised for the Navarrans on the 58th minute and it was a strike well worth the wait.  A corner from the left was headed back to the midfielder by Aridane and the on-loan Sevilla man cracked a left-footed half-volley into the top left corner past the despairing Pawel Kieszek.  In the most controversial part of the match, both teams had a man sent off in the closing stages; Aythami Artiles saw red for Córdoba after a poor challenge from behind and moments later Osasuna’s Xisco was dismissed for an arm across the face of his opponent.

Córdoba are still in 20th place but sit a single point behind Barcelona B who are the highest placed of the four teams in the relegation zone.  Osasuna are unchanged in 10th position.

A goal from Italian defender Marco Motta six minutes from time rescued a point for hosts Almería, earning a 1-1 draw with Albacete and sparing them from a fourth defeat in five.  Aridane Santana had put Enrique Martín Monreal’s side ahead on 22 minutes when he stretched out to connect with a ball into the box and managed to get the slightest touch to divert it into the net.  He paid tribute to his injured team-mate, Pelayo, in his muted goal celebration.

The hosts piled on the pressure in search of an equaliser and were rewarded when Motta rose amongst a forest of bodies in the box to turn home a freekick.  Following their Thursday night match against Huesca, this was Albacete’s second draw in a row and sees them finish the week in 13th place.  Almería sit in 17th place and now have Cultural hot on their heels, both teams locked on 39 points.

There was a new man at the helm for Real Valladolid as they entertained rivals Sporting at the José Zorrilla but Sergio González, appointed on Tuesday in a flurry of activity at the club, could not stop his charges from slipping to their second consecutive loss.  After last week’s defeat at Gimnàstic, Real Valladolid were the biggest fallers in the league – slipping four places to 11th – and were keen to get back on track.

They suffered a disaster, however, as Sporting took the lead in the second minute.  Nano gathered a long ball on the right and slid a great pass across the face of the goal which was turned in by Rubén García at the back post.  The hosts best chances came through Jamie Mata in the second half, but he saw one effort denied by former Real Valladolid goalkeeper Diego Mariño, and his next was cleared off the line by Sporting defender Federico Barba.

In between these chances, Pucela had a clear penalty claim dismissed by the referee as Giannis Gianniotas saw his delivery into the box blocked by the hand of Barba but the referee felt the Mexican’s contact had been incidental, much to the annoyance of the home crowd and players.  Sporting claimed their eighth win in a row and sit atop the league on 64 points, whereas their rivals are in serious danger of missing out on the playoffs as they tread water in 11th.

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In the hotly-anticipated match of the week, Rayo Vallecano got the better of title-rivals Real Zaragoza at the Campo de Fútbol de Vallacas, running out 2-1 winners.  Both sides had enjoyed good form in recent weeks and there was very little to choose between the sides in a tight encounter.  It took until just over an hour for the deadlock to be broken and it was the perennial goal-scoring threat, Raúl de Tomás, who thundered a shot past visiting ‘keeper Cristian Álvarez from the edge of the area to net his 20th of the season.  Seven minutes later, Los Vallecanos doubled their lead.

Óscar Trejo took advantage of a slack pass out of defence by Mikel González and the Argentine forward placed his shot in the top right corner.  A mistake by home goalkeeper, Alberto García, gave Los Maños hope as he allowed Giorgi Papunashvili’s shot squirm past him in the 89th minute to reduce the arrears but it was all the visitors could do.  Rayo keep up the pressure on Sporting and sit in second, level on points.  Real Zaragoza’s defeat sees them fall two places to seventh and out of the playoff places courtesy of Real Oviedo’s win later in the day.

Sevilla Atlético and Granada contested a goalless draw at the Viejo Nervión.  The Andalusians missed the chance to lift themselves off the bottom of the table after Lorca had only managed a draw with Alcorcón on Saturday.  They remain in 22nd place, level on points with Lorca.  For Granada, they continue to make very little progress under Pedro Morilla.  Having fallen two places last week, they slide another place and close out the week in eighth position.

Real Oviedo ended the two-match winning streak put together by Gimnàstic as the hosts beat them 1-0 in Sunday’s final fixture.  The winning goal came as a result of neat interplay between Saúl Berjón and Toché.  Berjón collected the ball on the left and played an incisive pass through to his fellow forward in the box, before continuing his run.  Toché held the ball up well and slid it into the path of his strike partner who slotted with composure past Nàstic’s Stole Dimitrievski.  The victory elevates the Oviedistas another two places to sixth while the Catalans fall two places to 16th.

Huesca finally got back to winning ways as they came from behind to beat Barcelona B at El Alcoraz on Monday night.  The hosts had not won in eight matches and had relinquished their lead at the top of the table, sliding to third.  A dull 0-0 draw against Albacete on Thursday night had shown no signs of any improvement, but their resolve shone through after going behind to Carles Aleñá’s 57th minute penalty.

They were fortunate not to concede earlier, Marc Cardona put the ball in the net but was flagged for offside.  Further views showed that the striker had indeed timed his run well and the goal should have stood.  A further controversial decision by the referee worked in favour of the visitors this time, with the award of a penalty from Alexander González on Iñigo Ruiz de Galarreta which looked soft to say the very least.  Aleñá stepped up to convert and Gerard’s side were in front.

However, two goals in four minutes changed the complexion of the match entirely.  On the hour mark, Gonzalo Melero bundled the ball over the line from Ezequiel ‘Chimy’ Ávila’s header.  The Argentine forward, on-loan from San Lorenzo, put his side ahead on 64 minutes with a fine goal.  He powered into the box and was almost knocked clean off his feet by defender David Costas.

Although many players would have hit the floor in search of a penalty, he somehow maintained his balance and rounded both keeper and defender who were floundering to stroke home from close range.  It was a goal worthy of winning the contest.  Huesca stopped the rot and kept their title dreams alive, while Barcelona B suffered their fourth loss in a row and fall into the relegation zone without a win in eight matches.