2018/19 in Pictures: Games 23 and 24

Games 23 and 24 see me visit two clubs who, on current form, could well be swapping places come the summer.

Game 23: Rayo Vallecano 2-2 Villarreal (11.11.2018 – Estadio de Vallecas)

Rayo’s return to La Liga has proved difficult and they’ve spent most of the campaign in the relegation zone. It’s not exactly been a vintage campaign for Villarreal either, who have been flirting with the bottom three themselves. Despite their poor form heading into the game, the two sides combined to produce and extremely entertaining contest, even if the end result wasn’t much use to either of them.

After a lively start from both sides, Rayo just looked to be coming into the ascendancy when disaster struck. Samuel Chukvedze shrugged off his marker all too easily and fired a low shot home.

Rayo fought back and levelled with pretty much the last touch of the first half, Raul de Tomas sliding in to convert a cross.

While I spent most of half time wondering if de Tomas having R.D,T on the back of his shirt was amazing or awful, Rayo boss Michel was busy inspiring his players. They came flying out of the blocks at the start of the second half and should have already been at least one goal to the good by the time Alvaro García followed up on a parried shot and made it 2-1.

But alas, Rayo couldn’t keep that level up and they began to drop deeper, inviting Villarreal to come at them. There had already been a couple of near misses before Nicola Sansone equalised with a fine strike from outside the box.

As usual, the atmosphere in Vallecas was outstanding. The home fans kept going for the entire 90 minutes, even if the team were unable to.

Game 24: Alcorcón 2-0 Real Zaragoza (26.11.2018 – Estadio Santo Domingo)

The wettest and coldest game of the season so far and unfortunately for me, my umbrella couldn’t withstand a particularly strong gust of wind during the first half, leaving it more or less useless afterwards. I spent much of the second half trying to shelter under a TV camera gantry as the rain just got heavier and heavier.

Fortunately the football was able to distract me from the conditions as Alcorcón continued their impressive home form. They’ve now won their last eight home games in the league without conceding a single goal.

That run wasn’t ever really at risk against an anaemic Real Zaragoza side who have been struggling in the lower half of the Segunda this season. The only surprise was that it took so long for the hosts to open the scoring.

That breakthrough came on 56 minutes as they were awarded a penalty, no doubt about the decision, and defender Esteban Burgos stepped up to fire it home.

Zaragoza had a couple of half-chances where they threatened an equaliser but Alcorcón made the result safe late on with a long free kick being flicked on into the path of Jonathan Pereira who slotted home.

This result kept Alcorcón top of the Segunda, three points clear of Deportivo La Coruña and still on course for the most unlikely of promotions.

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