The title and relegation play-offs started yesterday with the first match day. The scenarios for the midday matches were very different: while in Alàs, the leader, UE Sant Julià achieved their objective and scored three points against Escale UE Santa Coloma (3-1); in Aixovall, no one was pleased with the final point distribution (1-1) after the match between Pidasa FC Santa Coloma and FC Lusitans La Posa.
The team who greatly benefited again were Sant Julià, who are at an advantage in regards to their closest follower, Pidasa FC Santa Coloma, who currently have three points. The tie put FC Lusitans la Posa in third place, four points behind the leader.
UE Sant Julià did their homework in regards to UE Santa Coloma and finished the match with a final score of 3 to 1. Walter and Salvat advanced the lead to 2 to 0 before the break. After the break Jordi Rubio closed the gap from the 11 meters in the 54th minute, and two minutes later Salvat did not leave any room for surprises with his penalty shot and closed the score with a definitive 3 to 1. The leader played with only ten men from the 51st minute onward, moment when Arce received his second yellow card.
Tables in the match between the second and third place teams
The match between FC Lusitans la Posa and Pidasa FC Santa Coloma was different from the match a week prior. This time there was a lot more direct play by both sides, suspenseful dead ball situations and few overall chances to score. Vicenç Marquès’ men entered the rival team’s area for the first time in the 11th minute with a counter attack that culminated with a center shot from Cardoso from the right side. Raya was unable to carry through and in the second play Gabi sent the ball too high.
Santa Coloma’s replica came from Beto who from the halfway line sent a long shot to Romero, who despite finding himself alone against the goalkeeper Andrés, shot unexplainably –from the exterior- outside the right side of the goal area. Two minutes later, Santa Coloma forgave the other team a second time. Manolo sent a corner shot from the left lane and Sonejee shot from the goal area line but watched as Lusitan’s defense, Maciel -stuck to the first post- blocked the entering ball. Beto was unable to complete a head shot from a second center shot by Manolo because Andrés was waiting for him.
The game became more rugged in the second half
Juan Raya had his best chance to score after the break. Cardoso came from the right lane and Raya sent a cross shot but Ricky reached for it and was able to block the shot. Later Raya would be the protagonist in a rough foul. The same Raya watched, just as in the first half, as he was called another dubious out of play. It was in the 72nd minute of the second half when there was very little play and many called fouls. Lusitans’ incisive forward attempted to penetrate the area after taking control of the ball and with his back to Ricky, fell when he received a shove from Manolo which the referee interpreted as a weight shift and received the maximum penalty. The same Raya from the eleven meters with a level shot to the left of Ricky which despite its direct path was unable to do anything. Only eight minutes later, Beto saved Santa Coloma from defeat and disaster-considering everything that was at play-and guaranteed a tie in shooting from the center of the area a shot by Manolo from the left lane.
In the 84th minute Sonejee had his last clear opportunity when he sent a centershot from Juli to the second post. Lusitans’ goalkeeper, attentive and in the right place, stopped the shot point blank.
The match was tarnished when in overtime, Beto kicked Maciel and the referee sent him to the dressing room. A fight resulted and Renato also received a direct red card for kicking Raya and Veloso received a yellow card for pushing a player from the other team. At the last whistle, Javi Sánchez had also been expelled for rebuking the referee.
The final tie was bittersweet for the two teams, aware that the team who benefited the most was Matecosa. The gap between teams, however, is small and the fight for the title is still open.
The gap widens
In the relegation play-offs, Principat was victorious again by taking the lead against the team currently ranked in last place, FC Encamp. On the other hand, Inter Club d’Escaldes continues in fifth place after beating FC Casa Benfica by 5 to 0. The rankings closed with Benfica with 5 points and Encamp with 4.
Photo: Santa Coloma’s Renato is fouled by Lusitans’ Leo Maciel in a second half characterized by game lock and continuous fouls by both teams.