Villar double sparks play-off hopes again

Gimnastic 1 CD Tenerife 2

WITH Tenerife hitting form at just the right time, as they did last year, their fans are talking about reaching the promotion play-offs again.

The team are in 12th position, but this sparkling victory put Joseba Etxeberria´s team just six points behind their opponents, Real Oviedo, tonight (Friday), in the last, play-off slot.

The new coach has now inspired three wins and a draw from his four games, and the players are bristling with confidence.

Nastic were a niggly side, scrapping to escape the drop-zone. But Tenerife relished the physical battles, and showed some excellent skills.

Longo is now a marked man, and Assoubre sent him crashing in an early exchange. But Tenerife’s top-scorer is becoming more resilient.

Keeper Dani Hernandez denied Muniz, before Nastic took a 10th-minute lead. Tenerife-born Maikel chipped a perfect ball past the visitors’ defence to find Morente just onside, and he was able to flick the ball past Dani.

The setback served only to prod Tenerife into top gear, just a minute later. Juan Villar shielded a loose ball down off his chest, and turned to fire the ball past the home keeper.

Acosta nearly built on it, but shot wide, while Alberto, having another outstanding game, put power into a header that beat the keeper, but the ball clipped the bar and went out.

Coach Joseba has installed an impressive work-rate in the players, who are looking to play each other into the game all the time, and are willing to cover back for team-mates.

Hard work may not be the most glamorous quality, but it’s the glue that binds this squad together.

Longo spurned a glaring chance just before the half-hour, when he drifted wide and found a defender, instead of bearing down on the home goal.

Never mind, because he was about to be involved in a piece of football poetry. Juan Villar made space to thread the ball through to Longo, whose high ball was headed down at the far post by Acosta… and there was Villar, waiting to tap it in the net for the lead.

That’s how the half ended, and though Alex Mula looked frustrated to have dragged his late shot wide, the coach didn’t have much to complain about.

Fate likes to give with one hand and take with the other. Juan Villar had a couple of bad knocks in the first half and lasted just 15 minutes more before being subbed by Aitor Sanz.

The striker has had more than his share of injuries, and the latest leg-muscle problem could keep him out for a couple of weeks.

Maybe his departure gave Gimnastic a little boost, because Dani had to smother a curling shot that looked goal-bound, and the home side forced a couple of corners. But Carlos Ruiz, in particular, helped the visiting defence repel the threats.

Malbasic was given a return to action from the bench, in place of Longo, and looked keen to impress. Sanz gave Gimnastic a scare with a well-struck, looping shot from outside the area, and Suso took over from Acosta.

Captain Suso was soon in the groove down the right. He fed Ruiz, who put the ball in the net, only for the ref to rule offside. It was a good call, like the home goal, and a decent afternoon’s work from him.

There was a burst of activity at the tail-end of the game. Alex Mula hit the post, and Malbasic fired a great chance, plumb at the keeper. The five minutes of injury-time stretched the nerves a little, but CDT’s run continues.

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Posted by on Mar 8 2018. Filed under Sport. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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