Mirandés vs. Villarreal: Another Final

Welcome back, Cani. We have missed the good you. - Michael Regan

Giant-killers CD Mirandés host Villarreal CF in an important Spanish second-division clash for both sides. The Segunda minnows look to ease relegation worries in front of a packed Anduva, while the visitors need 3 points to continue chasing the second automatic promotion spot.

As Arch Bell noted on our podcast, the two clashes between Villarreal and CD Mirandés in the 2011-12 Copa del Rey were the beginning of the end of the Yellow Submarine's stay in the top flight. The games had no mathematical impact on the Primera table, but losing to a third-division side over two legs (albeit the runaway leaders of that category) was a huge blow to morale. Couple that with a pointless Champions League run, many late-game debacles, three rather clueless managers, and some dubious unfavorable results, and here we are.

But not all our memories of Anduva are somber. Bruno Soriano, among others, fondly recalls the 'B' team's ascension to the Segunda B at Anduva in 2007. That match catapulted our filial on its way to the Segunda, where it played three successful campaigns until last season's forced relegation.

Fast forward to today, and the mini-submarino just defeated league leaders Huracán Valencia 2-1 at the Mini Estadi, even without promoted striker Gerard Moreno. The goals were from midfielders Cámara and Iriome -- we could use that scoring in the first team. Enhorabuena, chavales!

On to the main course -- hold your hats for the starting XI: J. Carlos; Mario, Musacchio, Mellberg, Dorado; Bruno, Canteros; Cani, Aquino; Gerard, Perbet.

Ring in the changes, says manager Marcelino García Toral. Chechu Dorado slides to left back, which explains why Joan Oriol did not even make the squad. Héctor Canteros starts after hardly playing the entire season -- I'd expect to see Marcos Senna by the hour mark. Rubén Cani returns from injury to make his first start in weeks, and Javier Aquino overcomes a knock and lots of travel to make the starting XI. Up front, heroic Gerard and the forgotten Jérémy Perbet will team up in a classic striker pairing. Well, well.

The match begins at 11 am Eastern Time -- expect streams. With Almería's win and the failure of the chasing pack to pick up three points, this would be a huge victory. A por todas!

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