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Segunda Focus: It’s a long, long season....

Will Osasuna celebrate the rapture as a Primera side?
Osasuna, hoping to make it back to the Primera

It is simply ridiculous to realize the Segunda Divisíon teams have played 34 league games, and still have EIGHT more to go—they don’t finish the regular season until June 8.

It seems as though Osasuna may be returning to the Primera again after a two-year absence. Remember Fran Mérida, player who Arsenal signed as a youngster from Barcelona (and later returned to Spain after Atletico Madrid convinced him not to extend his Gunners deal)? He’s 29 now, has been at Osasuna for several years. They lead the table on 67 points, six ahead of Albacete and Granada. The “Queso Mecanico” (Clockwork Cheese—one of the great nicknames) have not been in the first division since the 2004-05 season, but they could follow Leganes, Getafe and Rayo in the list of suburban Madrid teams in the Primera. (Speaking of which, here is an outstanding article from These Football Times about exactly that).

After those three, it gets interesting, with Cadiz (56), Mallorca (55), Malaga (55), Deportivo La Coruña (54), Sporting Gijón (52), Almeria (49) and Real Oviedo (49) all fighting for the last three playoff spots.

Cadiz play in an AWESOME stadium with the coolest floodlights you’ll ever see, they have a 39-year old goalkeeper who has played every minute of every league match this and the last three seasons, and they have ex-Villarreal center back Alexsandar Pantic on their books now (he was loaned in January from Dinamo Kyiv, but hasn’t played yet). And, of course, they are the other Yellow Submarine. More importantly for their promotion hopes this season, they have Darwin Machis, Venezuelan striker, on loan from Udinese. He’s scored seven times in nine matches, including a hat trick against Las Palmas last weekend.

Mallorca still hate us. Well, I think they still do—a survey a couple of years ago said they did. We loaned them Leo Suarez, though, so if he helps them to promotion, maybe all will be forgiven. Malaga have two of our loanees, Alfred N’Diaye and Pau Torres, but after a hot start have been fading—they just fired Juan Muñiz as coach and replaced him with Victor Sanchez, who hasn’t coached since Betis fired him in May 2017. Their next three matches are Albacete away, Mallorca home and Cadiz away, so it would be a good time to find form again.

At the bottom, Reus Deportiu have disappeared and Cordoba and Gimnastic Tarragona are well off the pace, so really there is only one relegation place left. At present, it’s occupied by Extremadura (36), but Lugo (37) and Real Zaragoza (38) are in real danger, especially since Extramadura have won three of their last four matches.

The Segunda is, even more than usual, a defensive, tactical battle this season. Enric Gallego still heads the goalscoring list, with 15....and Extramadura sold him to Huesca in mid-January!