The temperatures soared at the Vicente Garcia as the May heat arrived on time. Torrevieja went into the local battle with Crevillente knowing that only a miracle meant they could get into the play offs and the early passages of play suggested that they knew the game was up.
Pedreno made several changes to the side that lost at Novelda last Sunday. Alexis returned from suspension to partner Eddy at in the heart of the defence, Jorge pushed into midfield alongside Borja, surprisingly preferred to Juanra and Corella. Cristian returned to his role on the wing and Cesar was back to float around the front line.
The game started scrappy and continued in that vein for the majority of the 90 minutes. Crevillente were content to sit deep and in their anchor man Alcolea they had a player that could not only wind up his opponent for the entire match but could pull the strings like a puppeteer. Torrevieja struggled to find any rhythm to their passing as Crevillente denied space through the middle and made it tough to get Brani and Cristian into the game.
Cristian swapped from the left to the right early on and had a chance to run at his full back, drifting inside him at ease but firing his shot wide. After twenty minutes Alexis made a rare mistake, misjudging a header and the talented Crevillente number ten, the superbly named Lolo, ran at goal leaving Eddy sliding past him like a child in a bobsleigh before forcing an excellent save from Oscar. Crevillente started to take control, all good things coming from Alcolea and Lolo. Rafa Gomez and Cesar were being forced to drop deeper and deeper to receive the ball which was contradicting the desperate direct central passes forward to a non-existent target. As the half drew to an end Oscar made another fine save as Lolo cut in and tested the Torrevieja goalkeeper. Two minutes later and Crevillente found away through. The ball fell once again to Crevillente’s main threat and Lolo hit a sweet right footed shot low into the bottom right hand corner of Oscar’s net.
The second half did not produce much more promise from the Torrevieja play, but after an hour a cross from Rafa Gomez evaded everyone and leapt like the proverbial salmon in the area to strike the Crevillente defender on the arm. It was a penalty so clear that even this referee could not deny it’s existence and Rafa stepped up to slot the equaliser home.
After that there was only one person the crowd could not fail to take their eyes off. The referee Juan Antonio Morales Yuste had a curious afternoon, seeming to swing between being very relaxed towards to the constant dissent and theatrics from the away side to suddenly being very strict over the slightest of things. With ten minutes to go Cristian went on a mazy run from the left, beating four players and drifting into the penalty area. In a collision not too far removed from Eden Hazard against Palace just hours earlier the wingman found himself on the floor. Incredibly he was booked for diving. Now, it is one thing in that situation to deem the contact not enough to be worthy of a penalty, but to accuse the player of being a cheat is another thing. Cristian was visibly dismayed, and rightly so. In injury time, doing a fantastic job of tracking back, he mistimed his tackle slightly and caught the chief instigator of the majority of the gamesmanship, Alcolea. The second yellow was shown and for the second home game running Torrevieja were harshly down to ten men.
The game ended and Pedreno’s unbeaten home record remained intact and as every game goes by the manager will no doubt be forming a clear idea of what next season will look like on the pitch.
Next week CD Torrevieja travel to La Nucia.
(photos by J Carillon)