I’d been looking forward to the start of the lower league season for months, but the first weekend only brought frustration and disappointment.
With the Madrid Metropolitan Area under a confinement order, travelling to one of the other towns in the Communidad de Madrid was out of the question and the few games taking place in the city were all behind closed doors.
Thankfully the next weekend was a different story!
⚽️ Villaverde 0-1 Leganés B
🏟 Estadio Boetticher, Madrid
🏆 Tercera Division, Group 7
Long-term readers will know that I have a massive soft spot for Villaverde and the Estadio Boetticher, so I was delighted to be able to make it my first (competitive) Tercera ground of the season.
With a limited capacity of 300, I made sure I was there early to avoid disappointment. I needn’t have worried as people were still arriving during the game, but at least I didn’t have to wait in a long line for my match ticket.
The staff at Botti deserve immense credit for how they have dealt with the new Covid-19 protocol. Temperature checks at the gate, recording details, hand sanitiser available at the gate and kiosk and individually numbered seats (the old benches have been given a bit of a makeover) to help maintain personal distance between spectators.
One other novel element was the presence of a drone overhead. I’m not exactly sure why it was there but it emitted a noise reminiscent of a cloud of angry wasps throughout the game.
Once the game got underway, Botti showed plenty of promise with their new number 7 Calvin Rezende, recently of USL Championship side FC Tulsa, showing some bright flashes.
Some might accuse the home goalkeeper Óscar Otero of being a masochist or at the very least a glutton for punishment, having swapped the team that finished 15th out of 16 in last season’s Tercera, for the one which came dead last. But in fairness to him, he didn’t do much wrong in this game and indeed was extremely unlucky that the only goal of the game came after he had made a couple of excellent stops, but his defenders were unable to get the ball clear.
The second half saw Botti have plenty of pressure but to little avail, their Achilles heel remaining their ability to convert chances.
They won a number of set pieces without really threatening the Leganés defence, while the visitors would have added a second but for an outstanding diving save from Otero in stoppage time.
Bar Watch: Good news as both the bar and the kiosk were open, with the latter even providing service to our seats pre-game! There was a full range of food available at the main bar (judging by the menus positioned around the ground) and I saw plenty of people around me enjoying a bocata from the kiosk.
Shop Watch: There’s not really a shop at Botti to begin with, but scarves are available to purchase from the kiosk. Next time I’m there I’ll have to find out if they are selling their new home shirt, which really grew on me over the course of the morning!
Match Rating: 7/10. It was no classic, but Botti did show enough encouraging signs that they might be capable of competing a bit more in this season’s Tercera.