CD Tenerife 2 Rayo Majadahonda 1
SUDDENLY, the home side remembered how to win, with this emphatic victory against Rayo Majadahonda.
It started with an early goal from Naranjo, and should have been put to bed after Suso converted a penalty. But it wasn’t as simple as that.
Toni Martínez narrowed the gap for the Madrid-based team to silence the Heliodoro faithful, who had seen continued signs of improvement from a team maintaining their progression. Yet they provided doubts in the goal areas, both in attack and defence.
Coach Oltra’s team scored with their first attack as Naranjo ended a three- game goal drought. Malbasic was instrumental, with a penetrating run deep in to the visitors’ half. And, unlike previous games, he had support as he pulled the ball back past defender Rafa to Naranjo, who slotted it past the Rayo goalkeeper easily, after two minutes.
Malbasic himself had a good chance a few minutes later when beating Óscar Valentín, but he could only find the side-netting.
But the home fans enjoyed a placid first half with their lead, with only one chance for Rayo Majadahonda in the final minute, when Dani tipped a shot from Benito on to the crossbar and to safety, and half-time.
Rayo began to find joy in midfield, especially with the pace of forwards Aitor García and Aitor Rubial. But Oltra quickly combated this this by moving up his front line to pressure and isolate them, reducing their options when they did have the ball.
What was a good afternoon for CD Tenerife turned into a great afternoon when they were awarded a penalty on the hour mark, although Rayo may have felt hard done by.
As Naranjo attacked a long ball, Morillas put his arm up to protect himself and the ball hit his hand, innocently. Yet the referee wasted no time in awarding the spot-kick.
Suso stepped up with confidence and wrong-footed the keeper to make it 2-0 to Tenerife. with 61 minutes on the clock, which put them firmly in control.
The final half-hour saw Tenerife pressing, and Rayo trying to exploit them with a counter-attack. In fact, they came close in the 69th minute when Fede Varela had a one-on-one with Dani, but he missed by inches.
In the 73rd minute, however, Rayo’s persistence was rewarded when they caught Tenerife napping as they pressed in their opponents’ half.
A long ball was taken by Toni Martinez, who outran Alberto and shot past Dani to make it 2-1, with a little over 15 minutes to go.
Oltra, who wanted to close the match, brought on Carlos Ruiz in a defence with three central players. From then on, home fans had just one scare, in the 85th minute from Aitor Garcia, but he shot too high.
This was followed by a Tenerife attack, with Milla in the visitors’ area, but it led to nothing.
As the final whistle went, the fans celebrated and Oltra let out a huge sigh of relief, having gained some breathing space with three valuable points.
There are still problems, obviously, but this win lifts morale in a squad who are starting to gel and are seeing improvements.
They now find themselves in 16th place, ironically, three points from mid-table, and three points above the relegation zone. That’s how tight the table is.
The match tomorrow (Saturday) could see Tenerife move further up the table, if they take this form with them to Sporting Gijon, who are just a couple of points and places above them.