ESTADIO HELIODORO RODRÍGUEZ LÓPEZ. PARTIDO TENERIFE-OVIEDO. EN LA IMAGEN, CARLOS RUIZ CELEBRA SU GOL.
Real Oviedo 1 CD Tenerife 2
THE old guard came to the rescue of Tenerife last Sunday, at the most complicated time of the season, and in their most crucial match so far.
At home under the bright sunshine, the blanquiazul put their faith in home-grown talent and several experienced battlers, to fight it out and get closer to safety in the league.
New coach Sampedro highlighted this by leaving out five of the winter signings from the starting X1, choosing passion from the seasoned players instead, as Segunda Division B had ceased to be a possibility but a definite a threat.
Oviedo seemed hurried as they were pushing for the play-offs, at the other end of the table. And although the defeat doesn’t strip them of aspirations, it has now made it more difficult, mathematically.
At the start of the match, Luis Milla and Alberto Jiminéz controlled the game. But for some reason Tenerife couldn’t take advantage of the possession, and the Asturians seemed uncomfortable with the homes side’s play.
Oviedo themselves weren’t very incisive when they had the ball, although they forced a good save from Dani with an effort from Johannesson, on 28 minutes.
From there, Tenerife were urged on by the Heliodoro faithful, who felt all was to play for, and they were right!
When, in the 41st minute, Jorge was blatantly fouled by Carlos Hernández in the box after a great Malbasic cross, the referee pointed straight at the spot for a penalty. Captain Suso stepped up and wrong-footed Nereo Champagne in the Oviedo goal assily to give Tenerife a valuable lead just before half-time.
And they did not put the brakes on after the goal, Nano nearly doubling the score after some excellent inter-play with Naranjo, just before the end of the first half.
Tenerife continued with the intensity and dominance they had shown earlier, and kept possession well, looking for a way through in the second half.
Twenty minutes in and Milla crossed a perfect ball from the left that found the head of Carlos Ruiz, in front of goal, and he made it 2-0 with a brilliant, power header, which beat a sprawling Champagne to double Tenerife’s lead.
By now the home team were full of confidence, with a
two-goal lead, and it seemed that nothing could stop them.
But this is football, and this is the story of Tenerife’s season. Just as Oviedo began to despair, lacking ideas, Alberto conceded an absurd penalty with a completely unnecessary hand-ball in the area, which gifted a penalty to the visitors.
Joselu was not about to make a mistake for Oviedo, and took full advantage, sending Dani the wrong way to half the deficit after 71 minutes, and bring anguish to the Heliodoro home crowd.
An extremely nervy 20 minutes followed until the final whistle. Luis César Sampedro wanted to close off the game by bringing on Isma López and Coniglio, but the suffering did not stop.
By then, Oviedo had piled forward, throwing everything into it, and they nearly equalised with an 81st-minute shot by Omar, which hit the post, and a close header by Ibra Baldé, four minutes later, which Dani saved.
At the death, however, Naranjo had a shot that was saved, acrobatically, by Champagne, and although Tenerife had to play five, excruciating, injury-time minutes, the referee did blow his whistle to signal a fantastic victory for Tenerife, and, probably, the most valuable three points of the season.
But don’t be fooled, because it’s not over yet. There is light at the end of the tunnel, and the race for safety is now a
four-horse race and not five.
But the finish is further complicated because Majadahonda’s final game is against Reus, who have been excluded from the league, so they are gifted three points.
This means that all the results remain crucial, although Tenerife can guarantee safety by beating Lugo on Sunday, or if Oviedo beat Majadahonda… watch this space!
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