At least to my surprise, Villarreal B entered the ascending phase, after two important wins in March, which means at least they can play in Primera RFEF, the new third level league in Spanish football for the next season. Injuries attacked us one after another, from Copete to Filip, but it brought the team together to fight for a place in the top three. And they did it, having beaten Hercules at home and came back after an early goal conceded in Orihuela.
Now, six games against three Grupo 3A teams are scheduled in the ascending phase carrying along the points collected from the group stage. In another word, MA’s team would start from the bottom with at least three points (or one win divided by games played) behind the next playoff zone (top three of each Grupo plus the best fourth). The opponents include former Segunda teams like Nastic and Barcelona B, and Pique’s FC Andorra. But they started it well, at the first halfs of course. They almost secured an opening win against Nastic, until the last minute goal shot by the goalkeeper of the home team. They would have won Andorra with an opening goal at home, until the pouring rain. None the less, there are a lot going on in the team and a lot growing-ups.
Copete had some muscle issue, which left him away from the court for a month. So it’s not easy for the team and for Dela. Vadik and the young Daniel Pereiro were appointed as the starting CBs, but both made some mistakes in the game.
In these five games, 5 of the 9 goals conceded came from turnovers, two of which occurred in the last five minutes against Ibiza when the team was completely attacking minded, and one was conceded because of the rain. It’s not unallowable for the youngsters to make mistakes. It’s more like a lesson learned than a disaster, especially when competing against senior teams. And the good news is that both Filip and Copete have returned.
Before March, there were only two matches that Hassan started and played for over 80 minutes. His energy on both wings was stunning sometime, but couldn’t contribute more, partially due to the limited time he played. However, in the last five games, he did not only start for four of them, but also got his first goal since arrival, plus two assists to Arana and Harper in the match against Orihuela. Though Collado started as RW against Andorra, he was replaced by Hassan right after 45 minutes due to lack of aggresion. It seems that MA has got the key on him. Although his sprint and dribble could not compare with Samu for now, in this level of matches, he’s still a treasure in attacks, supporting Alex by driving the denfense away. His first goal, which he flicked over the goalkeeper in the match against Hercules, was also an evidence of the improvement of his finishing and confidence.
Arana is another popular name recently. Like Hassan, he played an important role in the last five games, started for all and scored twice. The Canarian boy always reminds me of Yeremi, though he’s the older one. They share the same attributes such as agility and skills in a narrow space on the left wing or the half space. His move also forced Andorra’s defender to charge a foul, of which Lozano took advantage and scored a freekick. And before that, he even had scored twice
As for Alex Millan, he’s always a lion.
In my point of view, they’ve already done a great job this season, with new players arrived and some accidents such as injuries and rescheduled games. Whether they can run into the next round won’t affect the success of the whole team and of MA’s management. With four games left for this phase, probably for this season too, it won’t be surprising if MA sent more players on the ground to earn some time and prepare for the next season, for players themselves and for the team.