The Second has closed an atypical first round, marked as it could not be otherwise by the coronavirus, which led to the postponement of two games (Alcorcón-Ponferradina and Sabadell-Alcorcón). In both they saw potters involved, the pupae, since they have suffered all kinds of situations throughout these 21 days: They were given for lost their match against Zaragoza due to improper alignment and they have also been involved in one of the two pending crashes by the storm Filomena (Alcorcón-Albacete and Leganés-Almería). Neither in sports have things turned out quite well, although with the return of Anquela they have regained hope for salvation.
The halfway point of the championship yields several conclusions. Espanyol has been crowned the winter champion, thanks to his 45 points and a potential that has led him to lead the classification in 62% of the days (thirteen times, nine of them consecutive, from the fifth to the thirteenth). The parrots they are the best places of the category (28 points) and They have in their ranks De Tomás, second top scorer, with twelve goals, the same as Djurdjevic (Sporting). RdT is being decisive for the blue and white squad to be the most accomplished, he alone has made 37.5% of the total (32). Something that Espanyol complements, in addition, becoming the one that least fits (10, same as Mallorca).
Beyond all that, the first round has left ten curiosities that we recount next …
1. They are things of age
The second is a category of contrasts. That is how the youngest second coach, Borja Jiménez (35), led the oldest footballer, Rubén Castro, four years older than his coach, over 18 days. The incombustible forward has nine goals and is being one of the most outstanding players. Like the youngest, Luka Romero, 16 years old. The sports director of the RFEF, Molina, tried to convince the Mallorca midfielder to go with the National Team, but he opted for Argentina.
2. Sadiq surprise
Almería once again turned the summer market upside down. He was the one who invested the most in reinforcements and Sadiq – for which he paid about 9 million to Partizan – became the most expensive signing of Segunda. The 23-year-old Nigerian striker arrived to replace Darwin Núñez and had a hard time adjusting, but now he is leaving. He has nine goals in the league – he has wet in four of the last five games and scored a hat-trick against Ponfe – and two in Copa (to Alavés). Don’t be swayed by his clumsy looks, something that has made him teased in the past, Sadiq is a diamond in the rough and Olympic medalist: a bronze was hung in Rio.
3. Goals that remove the ‘feeling’
We don’t say it. Says FIFA, which is considering it for the next delivery of the Puskas award: “De Tomás presented his spectacular candidacy to succeed Son Heung-min”. That much of the parakeet striker against Almería had everything to be considered a work of art: control, hat on Maras and shot from his own field straight to the bottom of the net. Another delight was the Olympic goal of Ríos Reina against Zaragoza. It was not the first time that the side of the Ponferradina achieved something like this. It’s more, 25% of his career goals came from a direct corner kick. He is quite a specialist.
4. Cup survivors
Almería, Rayo and Girona are the only Segunda who are still alive in the eighth of the Cup. And that has not taken its toll on them in the League. The Andalusians are third, to a point of direct promotion; the Vallecanos are fourth, five from Mallorca and the Catalans are eighth, four from the playoff. At the expense of knowing your rivals (this Friday there is the draw), Almería can boast of having endorsed a blushing hand to Alavés and both Rayo and Girona beat Elche and Cádiz 2-0. This is the fetish competition for Iraola, a Franco-red coach, who last year brought a recently promoted Mirandés to the semifinals.
5. Resuscitation trainers
The arrival of a new coach has served to resuscitate teams such as Lugo, Alcorcón or Zaragoza. “Now I am Brad Pitt, but if I lose, I go back to being bald and ugly,” reflected Nafti, but the reality is that revolutionized the Lugo team that went from relegation to the playoff in just three weeks. The potters also experienced the ‘Anquela Effect’. The oldest coach in the category (63 years old) returned home and took an Alcorcón out of the red lantern still breathing. Zaragoza is calmer with JIM. The two victories in his first two games in charge of the team made him regain faith in permanence.
6. A player who breaks the salary limits
De Tomás has a market value of 10 million euros. Sixteen teams would have to go over their entire salary limit to sign him. They could only get their services, in addition to their current team, Espanyol, Mallorca, Leganés, Rayo, Almería and Tenerife, although the latter would be left with a very small margin.
7. The pivots of the category
A total of 52 LaLiga SmartBank players are over 1.90 tall. The ‘ceiling’ is Bulka, Cartagena goalkeeper who measures 1.99. They are followed by two other goalkeepers Muric, from Girona, with 1.98 and the veteran Diego López who measures 1.96 and defends the goal of Espanyol. The highest defender is Catena, from Rayo, with 1.94. For his part, the ‘pivot’ midfielder is Fuentes, from Fuenlabrada, with 1.95. Chris Ramos, with his 1.93 is the largest striker in Second.
8. Affected by COVID
In these 21 championship days, 46 players have tested positive for coronavirus of the 565 that there are among all the squads of the 22 teams, that is to say 8.1%. Sporting, with ten, is the club with the most cases in this first round. They are followed by Ponferradina, Alcorcón and Rayo with five. On the opposite side are Sabadell, Lugo, Tenerife, Malaga and Logroñés have not had cases since the competition started.
9. A Tower of Babel
There are players of 52 nationalities in LaLiga SmartBank. Only five countries contribute ten or footballers or more: Spain (406), Argentina (22), Portugal and France (11) and Uruguay (10). Serbia follows with eight. Three countries have six players: Brazil, Senegal and Venezuela. There is five Colombians. Morocco, Panama, Nigeria and Ghana four footballers contribute. Georgia, Ukraine, Equatorial Guinea, Albania and Switzerland they are represented with three each. Ten nations (Peru, Mali, England, Macedonia, Montenegro, Slovakia, Poland, Guinea Bissau, Mauritania and Italy) have two. And there is a player from 23 other countries (Kosovo, United States, Azerbaijan, Dominican Republic, Slovenia, Ivory Coast, Cameroon, Scotland, Bosnia, Guinea, China, Martinique, Croatia, Netherlands, Cuba, Kenya, Algeria, Iceland, Japan, Belgium, Romania and Angola).
10. Benches that burn
There is no relegation team that has not changed coaches. Juan Carlos Garrido was the last to arrive at Castellón, although Albacete, Zaragoza and Cartagena take the cake, since they are already going for their third coach of the season. Menéndez landed on the Manchego bench after the passage of Alcaraz and López Garai, Juan Ignacio Martínez took over from Baraja and Iván Martínez and Carrión took over the reins after Borja Jiménez and Pepe Aguilar.