The rain poured down on two hum-drum towns at the weekend, but the fans of CD Lugo & SD Ponferradina could not be happier. North Western Spain’s notoriously fickle weather played havoc with Cádiz & Tenerife’s promotion plans, leaving both with deficits to overcome in the second legs of the Segunda B play-off finals.
|Waterworld - Pre-match entertainment at the Estadio Anxo Carro|
Whilst it had stopped raining in Lugo by kick-off time, such was the severity of the pre-match downpour that puddles of standing water littered the pitch throughout the first half. Cádiz clearly didn’t fancy the conditions as much as Lugo and the home side dominated the first half. In the 11th minute, a careless sliding challenge on Lugo’s centre forward Belencoso, gave the home side a free-kick out wide on the left. The kick was fizzed into the penalty area and Belencoso drew a desperate save from Cádiz keeper Aulestia. However, his parried effort fell into the path of centre-back Pita, who scored with a neat finish from a few yards out.
|Belencoso wheels away after scoring Lugo's second goal|
More careless defending saw Cádiz concede another free kick wide on the left side on 32 minutes. Garrido’s towering header from the resulting kick was neatly controlled by Belencoso, who volleyed home from 6 yards out. It was the striker’s third goal of the play-offs and his fifteenth of the season. If Cádiz felt somewhat aggrieved about a hint of offside for both Lugo goals, they were apoplectic in the 36th minute, when their Scottish striker Ikechi Anya was denied a clear penalty. Running on to his own flick-on, Ikechi was felled in the area by Lugo’s Argentine defender Belforti, but referee Hernández signalled for a goal kick.
There was more disappointment and infuriation for Cádiz halfway through the second period, when Lugo scored a disputed third goal. Lugo’s substitute Luismi’s run and shot on goal drew a smart save from Aulestia, but as the ball squirmed across the six-yard box, Cádiz’s Góngero appeared to be fouled as Quero bundled the ball into the unguarded net. This led to a lengthy dispute which resulted in Cádiz coach José González being sent to the stands. A stunning 81st minute strike form Cádiz’s Oscar Perez kept the tie alive however, but as the teams head to the Estadio Ramón Carranza for next weekend’s decider, it is the Andaluz’s who have it all to do against a Lugo side that has yet to concede on the road in the Play-offs.
An hour later and seventy miles south east of Lugo, SD Ponferradina entertained CD Tenerife at a soggy Estadio El Toralin. The home side had the better of the early exchanges with Acorán and Isaias squandering chances in the first quarter of the match. Tenerife was having difficulty getting out of their half and finally Ponferradina’s pressure told when Tenerife’s right back Pablo Sicilia conceded a penalty on the stroke of half-time. The home side’s dependable Brazilian striker Yuri scored with a low drive to the keeper’s right. It was his fourth goal in this season’s play-offs and 23rd overall.
|The Boy from Brazil - Ponferradina's Yuri de Souza Fonseca|
Much of the same followed in the second half, with Ponferradina dominating possession but failing to add to their lead. Acorán had two further chances, but the first drew a magnificent save from Tenerife’s Aragoneses, whilst the second was headed wide from close range. Yuri’s replacement Javi Navarro squandered the last chance of the game, leaving Ponferradina with a single goal to defend in the Canary Islands, when their dominance promised so much more. Tenerife will be relieved that such a poor performance has left them with only a single goal to claw back at what will be a packed and partisan Estadio Helidoro Rodriguez Lopez.
You can watch longer highlights of the match here
Labels: End of Season Play-offs