Montijo did not expect to have playoff options at this point and Mérida did not expect, after the first round, to fight for the runner-up
When Montijo lost in his debut in the category back in September, very few imagined that he would reach the last two days with options to qualify for the promotion playoff to First Federation. When Mérida added its fifth consecutive defeat a lap ago precisely at the Emilio Macarro, very few imagined that it would reach the last two days with a chance of being second. And yet here they are both: the rojillos marking the season of their life and the black and whites enjoying one of their best comebacks of the century.
This midday, at the Romano, Juanma Barrero’s men need to score points to certify third place and win if they want to have a chance of being runner-up on the last day. And those of Juan Marrero need to win to arrive with options for fifth place next Sunday. Although, yes, the two arrive somewhat broken. El Montijo takes the cake, due to its short squad: Dani Segovia is suspended, Keita and Samu Manchón injured and Razvan, Matute and Chechu are doubtful. In Mérida, Cubo, Camps and Mario Robles will miss the appointment and Bonaque and Álvaro Ramón continue to narrow down their options.
“It’s something natural in the last weeks of the championship,” explains Juanma Barrero. “All teams have casualties. In May many players are prone to breakages, blows and it’s already costing. It is noted that there have been a series of games with a lot of war and the people have been more intense and aggressive because the objectives are played. And that takes its toll.” “I can’t put more pressure on my players, it would be unfair. They are risking their health. So I only thank them for the extra effort they are making, ”confesses Juan Marrero.
Confidently, the Merida residents reach several points above Montijo. Except for their stumble against the champion Córdoba, Juanma Barrero’s men have chained three consecutive victories of postín: San Roque, Cacereño and Villanovense. By contrast, Montijo has only won one of its last eight games and outside of Emilio Macarro they have not won since beating Vélez more than two months ago.
“El Montijo has a very clear identity. Juan Marero’s teams are well organized, they press, they are aggressive and intense, they go strong to duels and have a lot of danger from set pieces. There, in that stopped ball, we have a test. It will also be decisive to play a long game because with the casualties they bring they are not going to find as many changes. Although more decisive will be to be strong in the disputes and have personality to hurt them from the beginning, ”the coach from Mérida reflected on the match.
Depending on whether the players who are between cottons will come out of them or not, Marrero could change from 4-4-2 to a line of five behind, in the absence of Dani Segovia, Samu Manchón and Matute’s doubts. But it will also depend on whether Razvan will be able to play or not, to center Manu Molina along with Javi Chino and Gabri. Juanma Barrero where he has the problem is behind. If Bonaque and Álvaro Ramón arrive, not so much, but if they don’t, he will have to change Felipe Alfonso’s side and bet on Ebuka. The last game of the course at the Romano will dictate which of the two will play something on the last day of the League.
Eddie is an Australian news reporter with over 9 years in the industry and has published on Forbes and tech crunch.