Battle football, but summer course referees, relaxed, questionable, good guys. Cement football with bullets, football that is heavy, rough, hard to chew, that only leaves you satisfied if you win. You suffer as a spectator and as a footballer. Every meter you advance is a fight. Guerrilla game, without spaces, without the ball, without inventiveness. You end up exhausted and barely step on the area. You lack possession, but you win, which is not the only thing, although it is the main thing. Sixth win, 18 of 18, and leaders: can anyone complain? Sure yes, always …
Hercules closes the first lap at the top of the standings. Only. With no one by the side. Seventeen days later, Sergio Mora’s project, now repeating some of the mistakes that condemned him before, is unstoppable. Neither the Christmas break, nor the omicron variant have twisted for the worse a dynamic that seemed unattainable when returning from Puertollano with his head sunk and the coach’s livelihood hanging by a cobweb thread.
In sport, the sensations are almost as important as the escape plan, and when they are good, everything flows in harmony. What once annihilated you now makes you stronger. You are left with one less as soon as the second part begins and you hardly notice it. Perhaps it was because in front of him was the almost evicted bottom of the group, with seven casualties, without any discharge, with only one player with exclusive dedication, but also for believing in what he is doing, for knowing how to work, for struggling, for putting the regime of aggressiveness and intensity at the same point (or one more) than the adversary, who clings to that because it is the only weapon he has left to avoid giving up in the middle of the course.
You learn to win, and to control anxiety, too. The blue and white team, against the wind, the blows, the collisions, did not find a way to get the ball, to impose their highest quality, their best knowledge of the game and their superior arsenal to take the fight to their land. Does not matter. In the absence of oxygen, balance and stolen balls that Bikoro guarantees, Hercules found a way to guarantee the victory on set pieces.
Minute 24. In the previous 23, nothing remarkable has happened. Pedro Sánchez prepares. Observe your companions. He makes a shy sign. Gaining momentum to arm her leg, Tano, in a flawless drag maneuver, runs the first pole. Two defenders go with him. Behind him, Diego Jiménez is left alone. Aspe’s, with a direct hit, makes the ball reach him. Adjust the instep, direct the leather towards the post furthest from the goalkeeper and, without the need for strength or speed, only with direction, the net eats the 0-1.
The Marchamalo returned to defend badly another action of strategy Eleven defeats already adds up. He does not lack neither dedication, nor struggle nor desire to win. It suffers from an excess of fragility, from a breathable innocence that forces him to throw overboard the enormous physical wear that he makes and to which he subjects his rivals.
The center-back converted to full-back, the footballer with the most minutes played, the most reliable man for Mora behind, was responsible for raising Hercules to the lead at the end of the first round. Meritocracy and justice go hand in hand in a wardrobe in which this synergy has not flourished for a long time.
The coach opted for Mario Ortiz to replace the Guinean pivot. It worked out well. The Cantabrian midfielder was far from the role played by the African, but he endured the demands of the contest and kicked his teammate César because he took a few. The two midfielders spent more time in skirmishes than channeling the game. Without transition, Pedro Sánchez disappears from the equation and the overflow through the bands is turned off.
However, the collapse did not matter. Hercules’ mid-block defense was solid and the only approaches that allowed his rival were centers very far from the area. The Marchamalo did not see Adrián closely, he limited himself to hanging balls waiting for his failure. They arrived. Two especially. In his second clean sheet, the Catalan made two serious errors in two attempts to clear, or block, the leather and the physical waste without real fire of the gallant team was about to premiere, without enough troops to be able to complete the call yesterday and occupy all the bench seats.
In one of those long-distance adventures, right after the second half began, Fané looked for his center forward on the balcony of the area. Carlos David tried to prevent it. He jumped with his elbow apart, lightly contacted the marching ram, which fell to the ground with excessive symptoms of pain. The referee, who in the first half had shown a yellow to the Herculaneum center-back for another overactive action, left Hercules with ten.
In another scenario, perhaps in another time, in another less diligent, less torrential, more diffuse inertia, that would have been disaster. But yesterday, no. Yesterday, Sergio Mora’s Hercules, without finding the way to govern the duel, without being able to display his best offensive fundamentals, without being superior to his opponent, clenched his jaw, took the blows and kept a cool head without ever losing sight of a a triumph that invites choral empowerment in very difficult times.
1 The Hercules footballers go to the stands with the Alicante audience to celebrate with Diego Jiménez the goal of the victory.
2 Pedro Sánchez leaves Molina and Gabriel behind with the ball at his feet.
3 César Moreno tries to avoid the pressure in the center of the field.
Mora equals the record of Juan Carlos Mandiá
Hercules won their sixth consecutive victory yesterday, something that had not happened in the Blue and White team since Juan Carlos Mandiá led the team in the Second Division. It was in the 2011-2012 season, at the start of the competition. At that beginning of the course, the Alicante people had six victories, several of them by the minimum, and that allowed them to fight for promotion until the end.
Eddie is an Australian news reporter with over 9 years in the industry and has published on Forbes and tech crunch.