Liga 123 Week 37 Review: Top three all win

Liga 123 Week 37 Review: Top three all win

April 30, 2018 Off By Martin Devlin

Rayo Vallecano maintained their slender lead atop Spain’s second tier as they earned their fourth win in a row, a 3-1 victory at home to Tenerife.  As is now almost customary, Raúl de Tomás was on the scoresheet, scoring for the fourth match in a row.  The prolific hitman bagged his 23rd of the campaign and has found the net sixteen times in his last fourteen outings.

He opened the scoring on 38 minutes, stealing in front of his marker to deftly guide Adri Embarba’s cross past Tenerife ‘keeper Dani Hernández.

Victor Casadesús scored his third goal in two matches, following his double in last week’s defeat to Huesca, when he headed home a free-kick from the right to get the visitors back into the contest three minutes before halftime.

Rayo scored two goals in the second half, twelve minutes apart.  The first came from Álex Moreno as he planted a header firmly into the net after a great delivery into the box from Embarba.  Los Franjirrojos wrapped up all three points when Embarba, provider for both goals, turned scorer by lashing the ball past Dani Hernández with an angled drive.

Second-placed Sporting Gijón kept up the heat on Rayo thanks to their fourth win in five, this time 2-1 over a plucky Albacete side on Sunday.  Carlos Carmona popped up three minutes from the end to seal the points.  Enrique Martín Monreal’s side had gone six matches without a win prior to this fixture, but they proved to be a handful.

Jony grabbed the first of Sporting’s goals shortly after the half-hour mark, when slack defending in the box allowed him to get a second chance from close range after Tomeu Nadal had blocked his initial effort.  He made no mistake with the rebound and fired home.

Daniel Rodriguez scored from the spot following Jony’s clumsy challenge on Albacete captain Álvaro Arroyo to draw the visitors level as the half drew to a close.

Carmona was the hero as, in the 87th minute he burst into the box to stab a loose ball past Nadal.

Not to be outdone by the two sides above them, Huesca continued in their revitalised run of form and secured their third consecutive win by besting Granada 2-1 in very wet conditions at El Alcoraz.  This keeps them level on points with Sporting, and only two behind Rayo.  They were made to work for their victory and went behind to Adrián Ramos’ 20th minute opener who stooped low to slide a header through the grasp of Álex Remiro.

The lead lasted for just seven minutes however, Chucho Hernández’s third goal in two matches pulled Rubi’s side back to an even score.  A great delivery from the left-hand side was nodded in by the Colombian forward inside a packed penalty area.

Two minutes before the break, Huesca were awarded a penalty.  Darwin Machis brought down David Ferrerio and Gonzalo Melero tucked away the spot-kick to put Huesca back in the lead.

As the rain continued to fall, so did the standard of play as large swathes of the pitch became extremely waterlogged and both sides struggled in the closing stages.

In Soria, Numancia continue to impress and bagged their fourth win in five matches to move up to fourth.  They dispatched Real Oviedo with relative ease, by a score of 3-0, to hand Los Azules back-to-back defeats.  Jagoba Arrasate’s outfit scored two goals three minutes apart, firstly from Guillermo who headed home Pablo Valcarce’s hooked ball into the box then the midfielder got the first of his two goals of the day when his glancing header found it’s way past Alfonso Herrero and into the net.  He completed his brace shortly before the hour mark, reacting to the visitors failing to clear a ball from the box which allowed him to fire in his side’s third.

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The defeat did not harm the Carbayones by virtue of Granada and Real Valladolid below them both losing.  While they remain in seventh place, they were unable to close to close the gap on Real Zaragoza ahead of them who were held to a surprising 1-1 draw away to Reus at the Estadi Municipal in a match where the hosts were arguably the better side.  Real Zaragoza went ahead when Javi Ros linked up well with Borja Iglesias before cracking a shot off the post, but Gaizka Toquero slid in to turn the ball home.

Reus, who have now not lost in their last six home matches, equalised four minutes into the second period, courtesy of a goal from Serbian forward Dejan Lekic.  It was his eighth of the season and came via a downward header from the delivery of right-back Jorge Miramón.  Visiting goalkeeper Cristian Álvarez was the busier of the two custodians in the match and he had to be alert to deny substitute David Haro and parried a long freekick by Luís Gustavo.  The hosts now have seven points from an available nine in their last three matches.

A massive body blow was dealt to the playoff aspirations of Real Valladolid, who conceded a goal in stoppage time at home to Cadíz to draw 1-1.

Cádiz appeared to be the better side in the first half, but chances were scarce, and it took until just short of an hour gone before the deadlock was broken courtesy of Toni Martínez for the home team.  The forward, on-loan from West Ham, got his first goal from the club as he lead the line in the absence of current pichici Jaime Mata.  Toni Suárez played in Nacho on the left and he drove into the box before squaring a pass across the face of goal.  It was met by Martínez who slotted home with his left foot on the six-yard line.

Cádiz’s goal came in the second minute of stoppage time by way of a long free-kick from the right touchline which was dropped right into the middle of a crowded box and Servando Sánchez got his head to it to guide the ball past Jordi Masip.  The visiting team could in fact have won the match moments later but Salva Sánchez’s curling effort with the outside of his boot fell onto the roof of the net.

Osasuna drew 1-1 with Lugo, giving the hosts their third draw in a row and the visitors their second.  With both teams finding fortune going forward, but unable to convert any chances, the match was goalless at half time.  However, ten minutes into the restart, Unai García somehow found himself on the end of a corner at the back post after the ball had evaded everyone else in the packed box and he scraped it over the line to give Osasuna the lead.

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Cristian Herrera equalised on 77 minutes after right-back Álvaro Lemos peeled off his marker well to receive a cross from the left, then cracked a shot off Sergio Herrera’s post.  Fernando Seoane saw his follow-up inadvertently blocked by his teammate, Fede Vico, but Hererra was on hand to knock the loose ball in and rescue a point for his side.

Cultural Leonesa picked up another win, this time 2-1 over Córdoba, giving them their third victory in four matches. Argentinian midfielder Emiliano Buendía netted his fifth goal of the campaign in some style, curling a delightful ball right into the top corner of the net from the edge of the area.  In the second half, Rodri scored from close range taking advantage of a low ball in from the right by Ángel García to double his team’s lead.

Córdoba did have the ball in the net a short while later, defender Alex Quintanilla lifting the ball over Jorge for Sergi Guardiola to bundle into the empty net, but it was flagged for offside.  Guardiola did get on the score sheet for the second successive match two minutes before the final whistle when he converted from an acute angle.  This gave his side hope, but it proved to be little more than a consolation as the men from León ran out winners and rose one place to 16th while Córdoba remain in the first relegation place in 19th.

The battle of the new managers ended in a win for Almería as they overcame Barcelona B 1-0 at the Juegos Mediterráneos.  It was the first match in charge for both Fran Fernández and Francisco Javier García Pimienta.  Despite their abysmal run, Barcelona B had the upper hand for much of the first half.  Almería goalkeeper Rene was called into action on several occasions, firstly saving from Abel Ruiz spectacularly.  Right on the stroke of half-time, Carles Aleñá fed in Carles Pérez who drew a parry from Rene and on the follow-up, there appeared to be a clear foul on Matías Nahuel by Almería defender Joaquín in the box, but the referee waved away the appeals and blew for half-time instead.

Aleñá had a further two chances in the second half but failed to turn either into a goal.  In the end, a solitary strike from Hicham Khaloua, his first for the senior team, was the difference.  Left-back Pervis Estupiñán surged forward and played a delightful, incisive ball which came all the way through to Khaloua and the Moroccan struck it first time in stride past Barcelona ‘keeper Adrián Ortolá, consigning the visitors to their sixth loss in a row.

Elsewhere, at the bottom end, Sevilla Atlético lifted themselves off the bottom of the table on Saturday evening as they beat Alcorcón thanks to Jose Lara’s goal six minutes before the final whistle.  However, this was short-lived as Lorca won their match against Gimnàstic to pull back into 21st spot, one point ahead of the Andalusians who spend another week at the foot of the pile.  Dani Ojeda, who was Lorca’s hero last week by rescuing a point against Lugo with three minutes to play, netted for the second consecutive match to give the Murcians their first win in five outings.