So 42 weeks have come to a close and yet there is still plenty of Segunda futbol to be played.
Let’s back up a bit to the events on Saturday. Villarreal ran out 1-0 winners at home against Almeria with a Jonathan Periera goal sealing the deal. Congrats to Submarino fans everywhere for promotion back to the Primera. 13 months ago the visual of Villarreal president Fernando Roig slumping down the steps at El Madrigal knowing that relegation was apparent was in stark contrast to his triumphant lap around the field waving to fans while holding hands with his grandkids. Of course the peeps over at www.villarrealusa.com have much more coverage about this if you like.
Alcorcon put to rest any playoff doubt early with a resounding 4-0 home win over Sabadell. However, the last playoff spot was very much up for grabs until the very end. It wasn’t pretty, but Las Palmas are through to the postseason despite losing at Murcia 1-0. The reason is because Ponferradina once again dug themselves an early two-goal hole and didn’t do enough to climb out of it. 2-2 was the final in Ponfe’s visit to Lugo. That means Las Palmas and Ponfe ended with the same number of points, but goal-average tiebreaker goes to the Pio Pio. As for Ponfe, they have to be kicking themselves. A 2-2 home draw versus Racing and then 2-2 at Lug to end the season. Both matches with them playing down 2-0.
As a result of Murcia’s win, they are the lucky team to stay up due to the LFP’s decision to relegate Guadalajara. Huesca controlled their own destiny but the Aragonians couldn’t find a winner in Huelva as they drew 0-0 with Recreativo. Huesca was pushing all sorts of numbers forward at the end in desperation, but it’s down to the Segunda B. The same fate awaits Racing who despite Jairo’s brilliance and a 3-0 win over Hercules, go down as well.
That brings us to the playoffs. Girona-Alcorcon and Almeria-Las Palmas are the two match-ups.
Looking at the latter, Almeria fought hard but just couldn’t overcome a destined Villarreal in that final week. Nevertheless, Almeria are still playing exceptionally well while Las Palmas have essentially stumbled into the playoffs. Javi Gracia will have his troops primed to get a good result on the island. Almeria looked on while Villarreal celebrated promotion and the same thing happened a few weeks ago when Elche celebrated their promotion on Almeria’s turf (Elche had officially clinched the day prior). This is the second of the two semifinal matches on Wednesday. I like Almeria to make a statement here and win over a sputtering Las Palmas.
Almost a similar feeling in the other second leg with Alcorcon playing some poor football up until Saturday’s win. The Santo Domingo is not the ‘fortin’ it once was. Girona have enjoyed an excellent season and are very dangerous in attack. Alcorcon claimed that the ‘buenas sensaciones’ are back after their Sabadell win. I’m not completely buying it. Alcorcon do have experience on their side though which will help in this first leg. I’ll take an Alcorcon home win but by the smallest of margins. 2-1.