2018/19 in Pictures: Games 44 and 45

We’re approaching the business end of the season now, so here’s what happened when I went along to two games which could have huge implications in their respective leagues.

Game 45: Unión Adarve 3-3 Coruxo (Campo García de la Mata, Madrid – 31.3.2019)

After a relatively poor run of fixtures in March, the last day of the month came up with the goods in the form of a six-goal thriller.

It was an early start on Sunday for this Segunda B clash but I had little trouble finding my way to the Campo García de la Mata where Adarve have been playing their home games this season. After a look around, a quick scarf purchase and a coffee, it was kick off time.

Although Adarve actually started off brightly, they found themselves 2-0 down inside the first half hour as a couple of quick-fire goals from the visitors giving them a mountain to climb. However, just before the break they reduced arrears with a powerful header from their big number 7 Adighibe and then within a couple of minutes of the restart, they were back level, Juanma converting after a bit of a goalmouth scramble.

But just as Adarve looked to be back in the driving seat, Coruxo went and scored again almost immediately, much to the delight of their small band of fans who occupied the seats in front of where I was standing.

Adarve needed a good result to boost their chances of staying in Segunda B for another season and they managed to equalise with a great strike from Alvaro Sánchez.

For a while, I thought my record of eight goals in a game this season was at risk as both sides attacked with reckless abandon. There were some excellent saves, a few bad misses and some extremely questionable defending, but no more goals. Still, six isn’t bad for €10!

Game 46: Real Valladolid 0-2 Sevilla (Estadio José Zorrilla, Valladolid – 7.4.2019)

I finally left the Communidad de Madrid for the first time since the beginning of January for a wee football day-trip to Valladolid.

The historic capital of Castilla y León has many attractions, among them a top flight football team. Though based on today’s performance that might not be the case for much longer, so it was good I got there while I still could.

Real Valladolid started with real purpose, putting the Sevilla defence and back-up goalkeeper Soriano under sustained pressure, but they were incapable of putting the ball in the net. There was a certain amount of bad luck to this, but equally, blame has to lie with the players who, when presented with good opportunities, couldn’t make the most of them.

Sevilla did make the most of one of their few first half chances, but even then that wasn’t enough. Wissam Ben-Yedder beat Jordi Masip with a fine header from Pablo Sarabia’s corner but as he made his way back to the centre circle to restart the game, everyone noticed the dreaded sight of the referee talking to the VAR room.

He then made his way over to the side of the pitch and after reviewing the footage, decided that there was enough in Franco Vázquez’s contact with the defender as the cross came in to rule the goal out.

As the second half began, the ominous clouds that had been forming over the stadium finally burst open. But the goals still didn’t come, Valladolid continued to create openings, now forcing Soriano into a couple of decent saves. But they never put Sevilla under any sustained pressure because their set pieces were terrible, overhit or, on more than one occasion, putting the ball straight out. Unforgivable in the circumstances they find themselves in. Not for nothing are they the lowest scorers in La Liga this season.

Just as the game looked like petering out to a 0-0 draw, Sevilla dug deep and conjured up something to win the game. Moustachioed midfield maestro Roque Mesa hadn’t been on the pitch for very long when he provided the blow which broke Valladolid’s brave resistance, collecting Ever Banega’s pass and driving the ball past the helpless Masip.

They then added a second in injury time, another impressive substitute, Bryan Gil, provided the assist for a simple finish from Munir. Their improvement in the second half probably merited the victory, along with the injustice of the disallowed goal, but Valladolid will look back at all those early chances and wonder if this was one that got away from them.

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