El Balonazo’s Week 32 Review – The second beckons

ElcheThe Well (El pozo). That’s what they call it. And like the dank rustic source of fresh water it’s implausibly simple to get into – it was dark, I’d had a couple etc., yet fiendishly difficult to extricate oneself from – unless the water rises, engulfing you before getting back to the surface, that is…

It’s also known as Segunda B. Although that, it must be said, is a misnomer suggesting a single, twenty two team third tier from which clubs ascend on an annual basis into the relative big-time of the Segunda. In reality, it’s not like that at all. Segunda B comprises four divisions – a total of 88 clubs – all scraping it out over a long season for the chance of reaching a play-off final from which only the four winning the coveted spot in the second flight. Whilst the league have introduced a weighting system in recent seasons that means that those sides finishing top get a virtual bye into the two-legged final, it’s still a bitch to get out of.

I go on in this fashion as Racing Santander, who this time last season ago were involved in an ill-fated attempt to maintain top-flight status, now find themselves at the wrong end of the table in La Segunda and staring the fiscal abyss of the soggy bottomed pyramid in the face. All of this came in their centenary season which itself nearly didn’t happen after a couple of seasons of seemingly being run by a child with a fist-full of two pence pieces to ram wantonly into one of those coin cascades at a funfair which despite appearing to be on the point of shedding piles of other two pence but never does.

Losing to Villarreal at the weekend did them no favours as they now find themselves three points from safety in twentieth position. Immediately above are another hangover from the Spanish Footballing Age of Dumb, Murcia and at the very bottom and destined to drop into Segunda B are recent Big Boys, Xerez of the Andalucian city and Sherry producing centre, Jerez. All three are victims, not of success or lack of it but the economic crisis that continues to scythe it’s way through all aspects of day to day life.

If they do all drop out of La Segunda it may not be cataclysmic as Rayo managed to climb all the way back up in only five seasons – that said, Rayo nearly went bust in doing so perhaps it’s not the best silver lining.

At the top of La Segunda sit Elche a stonking eleven points clear of Girona – you know the place, it’s in Barcelona according to that nice Micheal O’Leary – who are only a point ahead of Madrid’s fifth club, Alcorcon – a football club attached to a new town stuck on the end of a retail park. Next up are recent La Liga members Villarreal and Almeria with the quartet of play-off hopefuls completed by Las Palmas – in sixth and not Seven. The likelyhood is that Elche plus two others will be getting whacked on a weekly basis next season competing in La Liga next season so we thought it right and proper to get the introductions over with.

Back in Big League, Barca and Madrid storm on against Levante and Betis respectively whilst Atleti won against Sevilla to secure their grip on third. Meanwhile La Real (nailed on in this very column last week for the Champions League) floundered at relegation threatened Osasuna to claim only a point in Pamplona. They are now in the line of fire from Valencia who put five past Malaga and leaped over them into fifth. The Malagueños season is rapidly become pre and post 90th minute in Dortmund and, such is their form since that UEFAs ban on them appearing in next seasons European Euro fiestas it’s threat that may well become empty.

Betis after their fruitless visit to the capital sit two points from the Europa League and three above Rayo who managed a one all draw at the newly resurgent Mallorca – dead two weeks ago, now on the cusp of salvation. That’ll be Alan Hutton! Espanyol, themselves no stranger to great acts of escapology duffed up Getafe by two goals to nil in Madrid as Granada stayed a point above the drop zone with a home draw to Valladolid. A considerable improvement on gifting 10 goals over their previous two matches.

The final game of the weekend was the Monday night relegation battle between bottom two Celta and Zaragoza. Who knows what Celta think about the Monday late show. Last week they lost in the final seconds to Mallorca whilst this week a Bermejo effort in the ninety third was enough to hand them both victory and a lifeline which dumps Zaragoza at the foot for the first time this season. Still, with five games left and only five point dividing the bottom six it’s still all to play for.

Until next week. Ciao.

By El Balonazo // Twitter

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