2018/19 in Pictures: Games 53 and 54

Two games involving two different Madrid sides with the same objective – not to be playing in Segunda B next season!

Game 53: Fuenlabrada 1-0 Burgos (Estadio Fernando Torres, Fuenlabrada, Madrid – 19.5.2019)

Fuenlabrada have been knocking on the door of promotion from Segunda B for a while now and after winning the notoriously difficult Madrid/North-Western group, this season may be their best chance to go all the way.

They needed a win to ensure they finished top of Group 1 and although they got it, Burgos, a mid-table side with nothing to play for, made them work for it.

The only goal of the game, scored just before the break by Jeisson, came with a touch of controversy. A Burgos defender was laid-out by a collision in the area and while Burgos expected play to be stopped, Fuenla carried on and scored.

Fuenlabrada have the best defensive record in the top three tiers of Spanish football, so it was difficult to see a way for Burgos to get back in the game. There were a few close shaves for both sides but they saw out the victory before embarking on a lap of honour, accompanied of course by their mascot Kiriko (aka Barry) the Chicken.

Imagine my delight on Monday afternoon when the play-off draw pitted Fuenlabrada against Recre! Then imagine my despair when I discovered on Thursday evening that all the available tickets had been snapped up by season ticket holders before the public sale on Friday.

In the end, maybe it was just as well I missed out as Fuenla hammered Recre 3-0 to all but ensure their promotion. Even in this season of crazy comebacks, it’ll take something quite special to turn it around.

Game 54: Rayo Majadahonda 0-0 Córdoba (Estadio Cerro del Espino, Majadahonda, Madrid – 25.5.2019)

It’s only a year since Rayo were in the position Fuenla are in now, champions of Segunda B Group 1 and dreaming of playing in the Segunda.

Despite being one of the smallest teams in the league, they’ve been a great addition, consistently playing good football and taking a few notable scalps (Depor, Oviedo, Sporting) along the way. So it’s a shame that after this result it looks like the dream is going to end in tears.

With three rounds remaining, Rayo are in the unusual situation of knowing they already have three points in the bag from their final game (they were due to play Reus, who were expelled from the league in January) but they still need a few favours from other teams and of course, to pick up a few more points themselves. On the face of things, already-relegated Córdoba seemed like ideal opponents. They’ve had a wretched season and were cut adrift long ago.

Except they weren’t really willing to play ball. Restoring some pride obviously meant a lot to the Córdoba players, decked out in unfamiliar maroon, and they gave as good as they got all game.

The nerves were clearly showing for Rayo and it took them a good while to get going. But when they settled into their usual game they came closest to scoring, Héctor Verdés header clipping the post and rebounding to safety.

The second half was a lot more open, even before the dismissal of Córdoba’s Loureiro for a frankly ludicrous challenge that could have merited a straight red rather than the second yellow he got.

Córdoba hit the post themselves then Rayo’s Héctor Hernández was denied by an outstanding save from Carlos Abad. As the seconds ticked away, Rayo missed the target by inches.

The reaction of the players slumped on the turf after the game said it all.

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