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LANZAROTE 4 UD LOS LLANOS 2, 17th March 2018,
Lanzarote´s playoff charge is on full steam following their fifth consecutive win. The Rojillos remain in fourth spot with only the league leaders UD San Fernando out of the promotion chasing sides dropping points over the weekend.
The Rojillos were without the suspended Kamara, Gaston, Javi Betancort and Enrique Castaño to face the second from bottom La Palma side, however with Lanzarote´s quality in depth this should not have been a problem but football does not always work out that way.
The game began with a good tempo with the home side looking to take charge early. Alex Cruz provided us with some great skill to create an opening for the first shot in anger in the 6th minute but his effort from 20 yards was a yard over the crossbar.
In the 15th minute man of the match Ayoze Pérez won a free kick on the right wing. Marcos Cabrera crossed the ball to perfection to the far post and Ayoze angled his body to get over the ball and his volley from eight yards flew into the bottom left hand corner to send the Rojillos 1-0 up.
Two minutes later and a corner for the visitors was punched out by goalkeeper Sasha but as he stretched for the ball a whole host of players collided which would be best described as a car crash. Fortunately everyone got up after some time though Ayoze Pérez needed treatment.
Lanzarote´s captain is built with a solid frame similar to his father Suso who I played against and still have a scar or two to show for it. Ayoze shook the knock off and got up without complaint.
In the 23rd minute the visitors thought they had levelled but the linesman raised his flag for offside. Seven minutes later and Lanzarote were awarded a penalty for holding from a corner kick. Rosmen stepped up and as predicted put his laces through the ball but unpredicted was the ball flew over the bar by a couple of feet.
The match then went through a phase of stop start with the medics from both sides constantly on the pitch through no fault of the ref who had a good game. As the official blew for the break everyone was hoping for a more flowing game in the second half.
The opening stages of the second period didn’t get any better with Lanzarote being lethargic and easily giving away possession in midfield.
It was with a huge sigh of relief when in the 63rd minute Brad fired in a powerful left foot shot from eight yards which flew low beyond the keeper into the right hand corner to send his side 2-0 up.
The Rojillos thought they had done enough and again took their foot off the gas. Sasha was having a good game in goal, since that collision the 19 year old shrugged the knock off and was confident throughout the match with his distribution being excellent.
Sasha’s teammates however were doing all they could to allow the La Palma side back into the match. Rojillos manager Maxi Barrera will be furious with his defence because in the 68th minute a hopeful corner found striker Nani unattended in the centre of the six yard box, the striker simply volleyed the ball home freely and the game was back on.
The visitors sensed Lanzarote´s nervousness and kept pressing the home side. Six minutes after conceding Miguel Gómez was goal side of a La Palma striker on the edge of the box and closely tracking him but just clipped his heel and the ref correctly ordered a penalty. Sub Pacha sent Sasha the wrong way and with fifteen minutes remaining it was all square at 2-2.
The Rojillos finally woke up and once again upped the tempo. A free kick from Borja on the right in the 81st minute found the head of Rosmen and the giant centre forward made up for his first half penalty miss when he angled the header into the left hand corner to restore Lanzarote´s lead at 3-2.
In the 88th minute Ayoze was having a discussion with the ref and his young son didn’t seem happy with the official and ran on the pitch to comfort his Dad, quite a funny moment during a tense ending and things like this I believe emphasize the beauty of lower league football.
In the 89th minute subs Trujillo and Javi Melian combined, with the latter just fluffing his lines as he was fed by his team mate to allow the keeper an easy save.
Deep into stoppage time Borja again set up Javi Melian and this time the Lanzarote striker made no mistake slipping the ball wide of the keeper low into the left hand corner to seal the 4-2 win.
The Rojillos are flying and next week travel to Gran Canaria to face UD San Fernando. The Gran Canarian club have slipped to second spot and are five points ahead of Lanzarote with a game in hand.
This may not seem important but leaders Tenerife B and third placed side Las Palmas C cannot qualify for a Copa Del Rey position as their first teams are automatically in the competition with their first teams. That means that there is still a chance Lanzarote can qualify for the Copa Del Rey though they will need to record their sixth straight win if they realistically have a chance. Only one side in this league can qualify for the cup.
Fellow Lanzarote club Yaiza won at home versus CF Pulido 2-1 and remain 10th whilst Haria recorded their 7th straight defeat and are doomed to return to Regional football as they sit rock bottom and are 12 points from safety.