Mérida loses 3-2 in Córdoba its first friendly of the preseason with some hopeful certainties and several aspects to improve
The best thing about the 3-2 defeat is: that it is pre-season and all pre-seasons tend to be quite untrue and that we are all aware that Córdoba is several steps above (from Mérida and most of the teams in the group). And from there, much to tweak and some hopeful certainties. Because the friendly at El Arcángel can be summed up quickly: Juanma Barrero’s men competed well against one of the best teams in the group in the last quarter of an hour of the first half and the final minutes of the second… but they were far inferior to their rival in the rest of the match.
For example, seen what was seen in the first half hour of play, the coaching staff once again has a worrying problem on the right side. Without Felipe Alfonso or any substitute who comes close to him, he has to sacrifice Fran Viñuela and, therefore, the entire right lane. With the exception of that flank, the rest of the starting ‘eleven’ could be, perfectly, a starting ‘eleven’ in the League.
More: knowing that the rival was superior, Mérida needed more physicality to counteract it, and there they also lost. The defense was weak in intensity, concentration and individual duels. On Antonio Casas’ goal in minute 17, she stopped asking for offside and then reacted late. It is true that Córdoba’s top quality and ball speed dislodges anyone, but the defense did a lot to get lost. Outside and inside. And not only in the goal.
After the 1-0, the team from Mérida reacted and began to press higher and better. And there is the first great hope of this team: if it comes together and swings well, it is capable of harassing, stealing and creating from high above. It helped that Artiles focused (he started playing on the right wing) and that the defense accompanied the pressure of the forwards. That is why Artiles himself took advantage of a poor ball output from Córdoba to cut and filter a deep pass to Lolo Pla, who did not forgive in driving and in the one on one against Felipe Ramos half an hour into the game.
Immediately afterwards came the hydration break and Mérida’s best minutes of the game. Javi Montoya, who had saved a few before, became another spectator and the leather was more in Córdoba’s field than Mérida’s, who dared to continue pressing, stealing and finishing plays.
Nap after break
But after passing through the changing rooms, Mérida came out lethargic again. So much so that he returned the favor to Córdoba in a disastrous exit from the ball and the consequent lack of forcefulness so that Cedric took advantage and put his team ahead again in the 47th minute with a cross shot from inside the area. All this without changes in either Córdoba or Mérida, who played with the same ‘eleven’ for one hour of the game. Juanma decided to refresh his forward (Sandoval, Cinta and Larrubia for Copete, Pla and Artiles) after the 3-1 in the 60′, in another great play by Carracedo on the right that Cedric spliced in from the left.
With the game almost decided, the Verdiblanco coach, Germán Crespo, changed his entire starting team for another that could be even more starting. Any player from the entire Córdoba squad would be the leader or the best footballer in the Mérida squad, to give you an idea of the potential of the Andalusian squad, which after the changes attacked with Willy and Sergio Benito at the top and Simo, Kike Márquez, Álex Bernal and Javi Flores from behind. He took advantage of that Juanma to rehearse the defense of three, with Erik, Bonaque and Nacho inside and Sandoval and Viñuela acting as lanes.
And after not disturbing anything throughout the second half, the Merida team finished up, improving and closing the gap five minutes from the end thanks to a Goma penalty, committed on Erik after a clear grab in a corner kick.
The result was of little use, because it is pre-season, but the match did help a lot: Juanma’s team was able to compete head-to-head against one of the best squads in the group at their stadium for about 20 or 25 minutes… but during the remaining 65 showed that he is very far from Córdoba and that he has to put nerve and fang into his football, and even more so against these teams, when he does not have the ball.
The next thing will now be to go down a step in his preseason calendar to face Julio Cobos’ Cacereño at the Príncipe Felipe this Saturday at 8:30 p.m. The medical staff and the rehabilitation team are working to recover Felipe Alfonso, Lluís Llácer and Garay, who were absent from last night’s duel due to injury.
Eddie is an Australian news reporter with over 9 years in the industry and has published on Forbes and tech crunch.