There was no miracle in Almería, not even a threat. Girona emerged unscathed from his visit to the Mediterranean Games Stadium, where he defended the valuable 3-0 of the first leg and from where he left without any scratch, with a goalless draw that allowed him access to the final by promotion to First. For the second consecutive season, he served as executioner of the pharaonic project of the Saudi Turki Al-Seikh, designed to fight the direct promotion of two ocean liners such as Espanyol and Mallorca but again from more to less in the season, without gasoline at the time of the truth.
The feelings of the first leg were evident in the opening eleven. While Francisco traced the alignment of Montilivi, Rubi introduced up to seven changes, including the goal, in search of a miracle that happened to keep the local door to zero. This premise was soon on the verge of jumping through the starting air, as Sylla was planted in the area and Fernando Martínez had to go out to cover any gap.
Curiously, and despite the fact that Almería had the obligation, it was Girona that dominated at the start, with aggressive pressure to quickly recover the ball and criteria to take advantage of the spaces. Again Sylla rehearsed the shot, albeit very high, and the enthusiasm of the stands with an epic comeback was beginning to cool very soon. The Andalusian team suffered to stretch, although he warned after a good pass from Sadiq to Juan Villar that the Huelva player could not do good in control.
Fernando Martínez, Buñuel (Corpas, min. 46), Chumi, Ivanildo, Centelles (Robertone, min. 46), Morlanes, Costa (Lazo, min. 70), Ramazani, Juan Villar (Balliu, min. 46), Aketxe ( Akieme, min. 46) and Sadiq.
Juan Carlos, Couto (Aday Benítez, min. 81), Bueno, Juanpe, Arnau, Franquesa (Luna, min. 81), Cristóforo (Terrats, min. 54), Gumbau (Kebe, min. 54), Monchu, Sylla and Bárcenas (Bustos, min. 68).
Ortiz Arias (Madrid Committee). He admonished Ivanildo, Buñuel, Robertone and Costa, from Almería; and to Kebe and Sylla, from Girona.
Round of the semifinals of the ‘playoff’ of promotion to First played at the Stadium of the Mediterranean Games before a thousand spectators.
The rojiblanco ‘7’, substitute in the first leg, was again the indecipherable element for the defense of Girona after a good start by Centelles’ left wing, which served for Villar although he did not hit the rival door after dribbling Juan Carlos . Hope for the local parish, again on the verge of a nervous breakdown when Sylla encountered Fernando’s wall for the second time. The Senegalese was a real nuisance for Rubi’s men, for whom the clock was the worst enemy, but a contrary goal the end of any possibility.
Girona, aware that it was playing in favor of the work, stretched its possessions, playing calmly, knowing that the best possible defense lay in having the ball in someone else’s field. Just a shot to the clouds from Ramazani as a threat and a 0-0 at halftime that forced Almería to a heroism in the second 45 minutes.
Unsuccessful revolution to rest
To work the miracle, Rubi undid what was initially planned with up to four changes at halftime. Another twist more, desperate. The company could have put a little less uphill for those of the land of Indalo in a header from Costa that Juan Carlos took on the same line. Madrid-born Ortiz Arias conceded a goal but the VAR clarified that the ball did not go beyond the line.
Girona reinforced its core for the final stretch, with the aim of reaching the goal with fresh legs, and although Almería wanted to put one more gear, it was still powerless to really disturb its rival. The passing of the minutes was consuming the rojiblanca illusion, with the Stadium of the Mediterranean Games already muted. It was a matter of time what finally happened. Al-Sheikh’s ambitious Almería will have to keep waiting, cultivating a little more patience in his projects. Girona is already one step away from returning to First Division.