After a rather barren November, December is already shaping up to be a better month for watching football. Shame about the results on the first weekend though.
Game 17: Sevilla 2-0 Deportivo La Coruña (Estadio Ramon Sánchez-Pizjuan – 2.12.2017)
To start off December, it was a short trip up the motorway to Seville and one of my favourite venues in Spanish football for the first time this season. And of course, there was the extra ‘attraction’ of getting to see Depor again. Would they be any better than their showing on the other side of the city in September? And as for Sevilla, how would they cope now that manager Eduardo Berizzo was out of the dugout, having just started treatment for Prostrate Cancer?
The form book going into the game suggested there would be goals. Sevilla’s last few outings included a comeback from 3-0 dow to draw with Liverpool and a comeback from 2-0 down to defeat Villarreal, while Depor had lost 3-2 at Málaga, shared four goals in a draw with Athletic and then won 3-2 at Las Palmas in midweek. And there were goals, alas both for Sevilla.
But firstly, just let me comment on the pre-match build-up. This was my first proper night match at the Sánchez-Pizjuan (January’s 3/4 empty game against Oviedo can hardly count), so it was the first time I got to see the admittedly impressive light show which welcomed the teams onto the pitch. Although is ‘Highway to Hell’ the most appropriate musical soundtrack for this? Thankfully it was soon replaced by the Sevilla club anthem, the best such anthem in Spain, bar none.
Both sides had chances in a relatively even first half, but it was Sevilla that made theirs count, with literally the last kick of the half. Wissam Ben Yedder’s goal, a neat finish from close range, was immediately followed by the players heading off the pitch for half time, which did sort of kill the atmosphere generated by the goal. It also killed Depor’s momentum as bar one smart stop by Soria from Adrian, they never looked like getting back into it. The result was put beyond doubt when goalkeeper Ruben allowed Krohn-Delhi’s shot to go under him and into the net.
All that remained for me was to leg it from the stadium, up to the nearby train station at Santa Justa in time to make the 20:50 back to Huelva, which despite big crowds both exiting the stadium and doing their Christmas shopping in the busy commercial area which surrounds it.
Game 18: Recreativo 0-0 Granada B (Estadio Nuevo Colombino – 3.12.2017)
So, slightly over 12 hours after my train arrived back in Huelva, I was back at football again, this time watching Recre attempt to continue their remarkable recent run of form against Granada B. Ángel López was looking to record his fifth successive win as Recre manager which would more than likely put them in a promotion play-off place.
Alas it didn’t quite work out that way, but Recre were desperately unfortunate not to record victory against a side who started the day (and would finish it) two points ahead of them.
Unusually for a 12pm kick-off, there was a strong turn-out and the fans were in good voice as the game began. Recre had the best chance of the first half, Boris’ instinctive shot just dipping too late and rebounding off the bar with Granada’s goalkeeper well-beaten. In the second half, supporters’ frustrations were mainly directed towards the referee and his assistants, as two penalty appeals fell on deaf ears.
It ended 0-0, but Recre didn’t lose any ground on the play-off challengers and extended their run of clean sheets to five matches, leaving them with the joint-bess defensive record in the division.