Gorging on a feast
CD Tenerife 3 Girona 3
SPOILT rotten, that’s what we were. Third-placed Tenerife against second-placed Girona was expected to be a good game … but it just wouldn’t stop giving!
Six goals split evenly, penalties given, denied and skied, and thrills all the way to the end. This match had it all! The bumper 19,395 crowd were purring all the way to the pub.
True, two home points were dropped, but Tenerife are still third with just eight games left in the run-up to the promotion play-offs.
Girona looked a good side, tight and well-drilled. And not so much a flashy team as a hard-working unit, with plenty of danger-men.
Sandaza was a pest, testing Dani Hernandez early on and kept in check on another raid by Jorge, who stuck to him like glue. And Suso, relishing his starting role, used all his experience to try to shake off the Girona markers.
When the opening goal, came after 37 minutes, it was a strange one. Sandaza looked to be shackled at the post by Jorge and Carlos Ruiz, but, somehow, he managed to squeeze the ball in-off Ruiz.
That wasn’t in the script, and there was another another blow to come. It should have been a routine save for Dani Hernandez from Alcala, but the keeper was late getting to the ball as it sneaked across the line.
Tenerife’s Vitolo was straight back on the attack, and Alcala took his legs, the ref awarding a penalty lifeline which was converted by Suso.
So, the home side 2-1 down after a breathless end to the half and it was clear this was going to be a classic. Choco Lozano came on for Vitolo for the restart and that helped Amath, who dropped deep to make his speedy runs into danger areas.
How about some more penalty fun to crank up the tension? Suso was the victim. He went down, the ref blew up and Aaron stepped up to the spot.
He is known for creating something out of nothing, and on this occasion, he created nothing out of something, ballooning the ball high over the bar with a schoolboy error.
There could have been another spot-kick a few minutes later. Amath had his ankles clipped, and, on another day it may well have been given. But perhaps the ref thought he had filled his quota.
This season anything has been possible; cue Alberto with a thunderbolt of a shot from way outside the goal. What a way to equalise for 2-2!
The stadium was a cauldron of noise and colour by now, and on came Gaku Shibasaki. He’s looking better by the week as he gains playing time and confidence.
Starting on the right wing before swapping to the left, he showed his pace and vision. An inside pass to Choco was laid into the path of Amath, who promptly smashed the ball into the back of the net.
But Girona still had a bit left in the tank, and Alcaraz struck just three minutes later to level this humdinger of a match at 3-3.
Few people in the huge crowd begrudged Girona because they are good value for their inevitable, fast-track promotion.
For Tenerife, there’s still work to do, and successive away games will be tough, starting with Sunday’s 11am kick-off at Numancia.
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