Grassroots football in Cartagena and its region already has a team in the Honor Division, the highest youth category. Efesé has achieved it for the first time in its history, this Sunday, by drawing at home against Academia Grana (1-1). It is a vital step not only for the Albinegra quarry, but also essential to retain local talent and prevent the flight of young players to other large quarries in Spain. It was five years since the local football team had not had a team in this category, since the last adventure of Cartagena FC.
Álvaro Celdrán’s boys put the icing on the cake this Sunday to a spectacular season. The youth Cartagena was first in its subgroup of the National League and faced the league of promotion to the Division of Honor, of eight games, at a clear disadvantage. The albinegros reached this ‘playoff’ with three points less than the pimentoneros, great favorites for that place. Efesé was very regular, he ate ground and this Sunday he reached the last and final match against the granas depending on himself. The locals were worth the victory or the draw.
This Sunday there was no room for a pin in the Juan Ángel Zamora in Ciudad Jardín. The president, Paco Belmonte, or all the people who work in the quarry, did not want to miss it. The Albinegros fulfilled the role, in an intense, even, very hot and decided match in a more open second half with spaces. For Cartagena the entry of Nono was key. Two minutes later, he put his team ahead, as he settled the ball and hit the toe with his right (1-0), in the 61st minute.
Those of Celdrán were able to sentence, again through Nono and Moli, both fresh, dynamic and with a different rhythm. He resisted that 2-0 and the Grana Academy put spicy to the final stretch, thanks to the 1-1 of Javi Moreno. The six additional minutes and the expulsion of the local defender Iván put the suspense until the end. The tie serves the Albinegros, who finish with 63 points; and the pimentoneros, with 62. Practically perfect ‘Playoff’ of Ephesus. It was the only way to achieve the goal.
Five years of intense work in Ciudad Jardín
Cartagena will play next season in the Division of Honor. In that category he will play two derbies, one against Real Murcia and the other against Archena. Paco Belmonte carried out the quarry project in 2016, shortly after landing at Efesé, thanks to the agreement with Ciudad Jardín. The work of an intense lustrum has given its green shoots in the form of promotion to the Division of Honor.