Liga 123 Week 36: Sporting looking to reclaim the leadApril 22, 2018
The early kick-off today pits Alcorcón, who are 16th, against 11th-placed Osasuna at the Santo Domingo stadium. The hosts are looking to try and put daylight between themselves and the relegation-threatened teams as they sit just three points off the drop zone. A win today would see them rise one place past Gimnàstic who held Numancia to a goalless draw yesterday. Julio Velázquez’s side had a disappointing draw against second-bottom Lorca last week, where they scored after only two minutes but lead for just eight minutes before conceding the equaliser. Osasuna still harbour promotion ambitions and could be propelled as high as eighth with a win and a Granada loss later this evening. They too drew last week, 1-1 at home to lowly Córdoba, so will be looking to make amends. They have picked up just five points from a possible 15 available lately, far less than is expected by the El Sadar crowd at this stage of the season. The previous meeting between these sides in November ended in an Alcorcón victory, Esteban Burgos snatching a winner in injury time.
Struggling Barcelona B are the next opponents for title contenders Rayo Vallecano who are looking to keep the heat on new leaders Huesca and Sporting in second. They lie in third knowing a win would take them back to the top, pending Sporting’s match at 5pm UK time. The hosts have been nothing short of atrocious recently and have slid to 20th place courtesy of four draws followed by four losses. They have one win in their last ten matches and are now mired deep in the relegation zone. Logic would dictate that the Catalans would be easy pickings for Michel’s Rayo, but this season in Liga 123 has been anything but logical! The visitors have suffered just one loss in their last 14 matches, that single defeat being handed to them in a top-of-the-table clash against Sporting last month by a score of 1-0. However, when these teams met in November last year at Vallecas, Rayo were less than convincing and squeezed past Barcelona B with an Óscar Trejo goal coming with just over quarter of an hour to go.
Lugo aim to break a three-match losing streak when they square up to Lorca at the Anxo Carro. The hosts performed well against Numancia last week, but eventually succumbed to a Higinio Marin double inside the last 15 minutes to go down 2-0. They have found the going tough lately, managing only the one win in 12 matches and have slid into the bottom half of the table. Lorca, however, are in deeper trouble and are almost guaranteed to find themselves playing back in Segunda B next season. They are in 21st place, level on points with last-placed Sevilla Atlético, and 17 points from safety. 2018 has produced just one win, a surprise 3-2 victory over Granada at the start of this month and they lost the reversal of this fixture 2-1 at home in November.
Cádiz have the unenviable task of trying to halt the Sporting juggernaut as it rolls into the Ramón de Carranza looking for it’s ninth win in a row. Rubén Baraja’s side have slipped to second in the standings prior to this match, due to Huesca’s win yesterday. However, a win today would plant them back at the summit. Last week’s 1-0 win away to Real Valladolid was not the best football they have played and they rode their luck on numerous occasions, but still ground out the win. The adage is that is how championships are won and Sporting look every bit champions material. They have the best overall and away form in the league. In their last five matches they have won them all and scored nine goals in the process. The hosts have gone off the rails somewhat and have fallen from third to sixth in the last four weeks, a trend that Álvaro Cervera aims to reverse. However, a run of three draws and a loss is not the ideal preparation for entertaining the most lethal team in the league. Nothing in last week’s defeat on the road at Reus gives any indication that they are up to today’s task but the Gaditanos did dispatch Sporting with ease in their previous meeting by a score of 3-0 at El Molinón. That was, however, before their opponents hit their stride ….
The final fixture of Week 36 sees Granada take on a buoyant Cultural Leonesa who are on a two-match win streak and will be motivated knowing they could haul themselves out of the drop zone and into 17th with a victory. Pedro Morrilla has accrued a record of one win, two draws and to losses in his short tenure in charge but, somehow, Granada are still in the mix for promotion and they could find themselves in seventh if they claim maximum points today. Cultural were the surprise winners over Tenerife last week, scoring three goals inside the opening 38 minutes and holding on to win 3-2. This followed up a 1-0 win away to Barcelona B the previous week, so there are very much positive signs that they can remain in this division. The sides played out a 1-1 draw last time, with Joselu rescuing a point for Granada ten minutes from time.