On-song Longo’s a double saviour

By Colin Kirby

CD Tenerife 2 Rayo Vallecano 2

SPLAT the Rat, and it’s not just an arcade game because it also seems to be the nature of Tenerife’s form. As soon as they hammer down one problem, another rears its unwanted head.

Longo added more polish to his recent shining displays, scoring twice, but a changed defence leaked alarmingly. Juan Villar went off with his fourth injury of the season, and five more bookings sowed seeds for future suspensions.

Coach Pep Marti´s selection was pre-determined to some extent. Aveldaño stepped in for the suspended Jorge Saenz in the centre of defence, and Inaki was a safer bet at left-back than the just-fit-again Camille.

And Aitor Sanz was playing much deeper to help the defence, allowing the full-backs to push up. But it didn’t work.

From the off, Rayo exploited the flanks and got in behind Tenerife’s rearguard. Dani had to see off a Embarde attempt, just before the visitors took a sixth-minute lead. Carlos Ruiz lost the ball with a casual clearance and Chori squared it to Aguiere, who had plenty of time to tap it in.

Tenerife worked hard to get back on terms, and an Avedaño shot hit the bar, just before Villar had to give way to Casadesus.

Moreno could have twisted the knife, but a weak strike off a clear chance was a relief to the home fans.

Aguirre, who was enjoying his evening, had the home defence at full stretch before they cleared his latest attempt.

The Second Division is blessed with some fine goalkeepers, who all play a blinder against Tenerife, and Carlos was no exception.

As Tenerife pinned them down for three consecutive corners, he turned aside a low shot, and made a world-class, push-over, reflex save from Csadesus.

Carlos Ruiz made partial amends for his earlier gaff by robbing Trashorras in a dangerous position.

Longo had been his usual, hard-working self in the first half, with limited support from Juan Carlos Real and Tayron.

Five minutes after the restart, Tayron earned his corn with a lovely cross from the right. It was met by Longo, who craned his neck to equalise with a header. Tenerife were charged up now and bearing down on Rayo.

But a counter-attack caught them cold as Moreno rounded the defence and set up Comesaña to restore Rayo’s lead after just two minutes of home parity.

Tayron nearly repeated his earlier trick with a neat ball to Longo, whose feet were a little less willing than his head.

Malbasic replaced Juan Carlos and gave Rayo problems. Longo should have laid the ball off to him when confronted by two defenders, and Malbasic also erred with a poor, hopeful pass into empty space.

Comesaña was sent off for a lunge at Aitor Sanz, and, a few minutes later, Acosta came on for Vitolo to fuel the charge against the short-handed visitors.

Clocking up the air miles for the Honduras national team could have left Acosta tired, but he actually added an instant spark, his creative flair exciting the 11,040 crowd and lifting his team-mates.

Ruiz came up for a corner and Acosta swung the ball out to him, but it was another soft shot at Carlos.

The keeper had to work a bit harder to deny Malbasic, but his save was another class stop, matched when he turned an Acosta strike aside.

But with 86 minutes gone, and time ticking away, Tenerife secured the point their improved second half deserved.

A bit of head-tennis saw Aveldaño knock the ball on to Longo, who nodded in what was his seventh goal of the season.

That leaves Tenerife in 11th position with a clash at Almeria on Sunday, at 7pm.

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