The 3-0 of the first leg was definitive so that the white and red team did not have difficulties to qualify (0-0)
Girona’s 3-0 win at Montilivi on Wednesday against Almería was too valuable a booty to miss. And Girona, with a perfect match plan at the Mediterranean Games, managed to emerge from the stake to return for the fourth time to the final of a play off promotion to First Division.
The promotion owes a debt to Francisco’s team, which has always been disappointed in the previous finals against Almería (2013), Osasuna (2016) and Elche (2020). Seen how Girona arrives this time, perhaps it will be the good one. The fans will follow this Sunday from a distance the outcome of the tie between Leganés and Rayo, from where the rival will come out in the final battle for promotion.
The formula for success
Francisco has long found the formula for success. That is why the coach kept the usual eleven. Mamadou Sylla was in charge of leading the attack and filling the gap left by the injured Cristhian Stuani. He was accompanied by Yoel Bárcenas; Cristóforo, Gumbau and Monchu in the center of the field; Yan Couto, Santi Bueno, Juanpe, Arnau and Franquesa in defense; and Juan Carlos in goal. On the other hand, more risky was Rubi making up to seven changes with respect to the team that lost in Montilivi (3-0). And not happy with the first half, at halftime he had four more, which did not work either.
Girona made a declaration of intent at the beginning. Francisco promised to go out to score and win, and he fulfilled it. Only five minutes had passed and the Catalans had already put goalkeeper Fernando in more than one commitment. First he had to reject a shot from Sylla to corner and then a whip from Franquesa. To all this, Arnau was about to catch a rebound at the far post with his head.
Almería, however, also tried to play their game, taking advantage of the minimum action to generate danger. The people from Girona got a good scare with a shot without an angle from Juan Villar that went out (m. 19) and Sylla responded, again demanding the local goalkeeper. The Vallesano tried again with a whiplash from the front that went over the crossbar (min. 29). Girona had the game where it wanted. Without going through excessive difficulties, being close to the goal, and going to rest with a magnificent 0-0.
More changes from Rubi
Rubi played it all or nothing and introduced more inventions in the second half: four changes (Robertone, Akieme, Balliu and Corpas for Centelles, Aketxe, Villar and Buñuel). The second act did not start well for Girona, but the rush was overcome. Juan Carlos dressed as a hero with a stop on the edge of the goal line in a Samu Costa header, reviewed by the VAR (m. 50), which ended up canceling the action initially validated by the referee. A 1-0 conceded at the start of the second act would have been a serious danger. Fortunately, the tie was maintained and the fact that the goal did not rise to the scoreboard dampened the expectations of Almería, which was once again the impotent and predictable team that has been seen throughout the tie.
Girona had no more trouble, beyond a shot from Lazo five minutes from time. Francisco ended up oxygenating the team, brought in players like Bustos, Kebé, Aday and Luna and let the minutes pass to finish celebrating the feat. Girona returns to a final of play off. And he does not seem willing to let the opportunity slip again.
Almeria: Fernando, Buñuel (Corpas, min.46), Ivanildo, Chumi, Centelles (Robertone, min.46), Samú (Lazo, min.70), Morlanes, Ramazani, Villar (Balliu, min.46), Aketxe (Akieme, min 46) and Sadiq.
Girona: Juan Carlos, Couto (Aday, min. 80), Santi Bueno, Juanpe, Arnau Martínez, Franquesa (Luna, min. 81), Cristóforo (Roofs, min. 54), Gumbau (Kébé, min. 54), Monchu, Bárcenas (Bustos, min. 68) and Sylla.
Referee: Ortiz Arias (from Madrid).
Cards: Ivanildo, Buñuel, Robertone, Samu, Kébé, Sylla.
Stadium: Mediterranean Games (1,500 spectators).
Eddie is an Australian news reporter with over 9 years in the industry and has published on Forbes and tech crunch.