2021/22 in Pictures: Games 18-21

A bumper update this week from four matches at the end of November and beginning of December as I finally get to see Depor again and visit three new grounds including, at long last, one outside the Communidad de Madrid!

Game 1️⃣8️⃣

⚽️ Rayo Majadahonda 1-2 Deportivo La Coruña

🏟 Miniestadio Cerro del Espino, Majadahonda

🏆 Primera RFEF, Group 1

📅 21.11.2021

💶 €25

This was my first chance to see Depor in Madrid since February 2020 and there was no way I was going to pass it up. As a bonus, it meant I was able to return to Rayo Majadahonda for the first time in even longer (May 2019) and hear their wonderful himno in person once again. Unfortunately, the speakers in the away stand were a bit crackly so we were denied the full majesty of the song.

The game didn’t disappoint though, from the moment Alberto Quiles put Depor ahead in the second minute, finishing off a rapid counter-attack with a fine left foot finish past the advancing Rayo goalkeeper.

Rayo equalised in slightly comical fashion when a Dépor defender attempted to head the ball clear but only succeeded in hitting it against one of his own teammates which was enough to send it into the net.

Normal service was soon resumed though, as Miku latched onto a poorly telegraphed backpass and ran through to put Depor back in front.

The game did calm down somewhat after the hectic start, but Depor maintained control throughout, limiting Rayo to shots from distance, which were easily dealt with by goalkeeper Ian MacKay. Quiles had Depor’s best chance of the second half, being denied by the keeper from close range and just unable to pounce on the loose ball before it was gathered.

The visiting fans turned the ground into a mini Riazor

There were great scenes at the end as the players came over to applaud the away fans who had travelled in huge numbers and were in great voice throughout.

Amenities Watch: Rayo Majadahonda had set up a small merchandise stall outside (ironically in front of the Depor team bus) which was selling scarves, hoodies and their rather attractive home shirt. Inside the ground I saw some people

Match Rating: 9/10 – This was tremendously good fun. Great to be back amongst Depor fans again and surrounded by Galician accents

Game 1️⃣9️⃣

⚽️ Real Madrid Femenino 1-1 Deportivo Alavés Gloriosas

🏟 Estadio Alfredo Di Stéfano, Madrid

🏆 Primera Iberdrola

📅 21.11.2021

💶 €8

I’d barely taken my seat in the stand when the opening goal arrived courtesy of a defensive error, Maite Oroz’s poor attempt at a clearance let the ball fall at the feet of Alba Aznar, who poked the ball home from close range.

Madrid equalised through Nahakiri García’s glancing header on 31 minutes but as they looked to make the most of their momentum before the break, they were spectacularly wasteful. Esther González, Maite and Olga Carmona all had clear efforts on goal but either missed the target or hit their shots straight at the grateful Alavés goalkeeper.

The second half saw their profligacy continue, Esther hit the woodwork on a couple of occasions when we’ll placed to score and Alavés almost made them pay when another defensive mix-up almost gifted them an open goal but the forward just couldn’t keep her effort on target.

Deep into stoppage time, a dipping effort from substitute Athenea del Castillo rattled the crossbar and rebounded away, leaving Alavés breathing a sigh of relief.

This turned out to be the last game in charge for Madrid coach David Aznar, who had already been under pressure after their below-par start to the season.

Amenities Watch: There was nothing on sale in the concourse of the stadium which was disappointing as a nice, warming caldo wouldn’t have gone amiss.

Match Rating: 8/10 – Plenty of chances at both ends, it was amazing that this finished 1-1. Plenty of entertainment to keep my mind off the cold.

Game 2️⃣0️⃣

⚽️ Espanyol de Madrid 1-1 AD Fundación C

🏟 Campo San Federico, Madrid

🏆 Madrid Tercera Regional, Group 11

📅 28.11.2021

💶 Free entry!

A late decision over what game to go to resulted in me venturing over to the Dehesa de la Villa park and experiencing another new ground. The Campo San Federico is one of the few remaining sand/gravel pitches left in Madrid and is nicely painted in the colours of tenants Espanyol de Madrid, whose kit is an old Espanyol shirt (LaLiga sleeve patch and all) but boasts sponsorship from Domino’s Pizza.

At the start of the day the hosts were propping up Group 11 of the Tercera Regional, putting them in with a shout of the title of the worst team in Madrid’s regional pyramid, with opponents Fundación C topping the table, although for much of the first half, you would have been hard pressed to tell which side was which.

Espanyol started off pretty well and went in front with a well-taken goal and held that lead throughout the first half until deep into stoppage time when a shot from distance caught out their goalkeeper and levelled matters up.

I thought that the leaders would go on and take charge of the game after the break, but it continued to be a very even contest, with the Espanyol goalkeeper making a couple of good saves anod his opposite number commanding his area well as Fundación defended a string of set pieces. In the end, a draw was probably fair and I found a ground which is worth another visit next year!

Amenities Watch: Just by the entrance there is a little shed which caters to all your half-time needs. They even have a small range of merchandise on sale too!

Match Rating: 7/10 – An entertaining affair on a chilly morning, discovering this kind of place is one of the joys of Fútbol Modesto!

Game 2️⃣1️⃣

⚽️ Gimnástica Segoviana 4-1 Club Marino de Luanco

🏟 Estadio Municipal de la Albuera, Segovia

🏆 Segunda RFEF, Group 1

📅 5.12.2021

💶 €15

With no work on Monday, Sarah and I decided to take a Sunday day trip up to Segovia, a place we hadn’t been together since 2017. Part of the attraction this time was for me to finally attend a Spanish match outside the Communidad de Madrid for the first time since September 2019, quite a long time I’m sure you’ll agree.

The ground is quite a trek from the historic centre of Segovia with its famous Aqueduct and the Alcázar – which provided the model for the Disney castle – and unfortunately it’s mostly an uphill walk.

The city’s team Gimnástica Segoviana were in the midst of a terrible run of form, but had put up a brave performance in only losing 2-0 to Mallorca after extra time in midweek. On this occasion, they fell behind early on, causing one delighted Marino de Luanco fan in the crowd to reveal themselves.

Spot the away fan!

The hosts slowly began to get a foothold in the game and when they equalised in the closing minutes of the first half, it was the very least they deserved. In a slightly bizarre turn of events, the referee blew for half time early, despite a couple of injury stoppages and the scoreboard still showing 20-odd seconds on the clock.

Whatever Gimnástica’s manager said at half-time obviously worked a treat as they were a totally different side in the second period. After taking the lead from the penalty spot soon after the restart, they never looked back. Ten minutes later, they made it 3-1 and the visitors, who had looked in control for most of the first half hour, were floundering.

Segoviana celebrations

As we made our way to the exit to try and catch an earlier bus to the train station (unsuccessfully I’m afraid), Gimnástica added a fourth to cap off a victory which moves them out of the Segunda RFEF relegation zone.

Amenities Watch: A huge disappointment! There was no club shop or merchandise stall on site, so I wasn’t able to pick up a scarf – none of the souvenir shops I visited early in the day had any either. Worse, there was no food or drink on sale, we could have done with a warm drink to keep our hands from freezing.

Match Rating: 8/10 – A game of two halves, both entertaining in their own way. An even first half followed by the home team stepping up a level to seal the win after the break.

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