Game 11 of the Primera RFEF Footters was against la Balona, a team with just one point less than ATB before the game. Xavi Calm lost Hugo during the week to a recurrence of his injury, and he has to wait on the mediacla team to analyse when he can return. Calm also couldn’t count on ‘the little general’ Damián Petcoff who was suspended for accumaltion of yellow cards. Jesús Álvaro and Alfonso were also missing through injury. Xavi Calm therefore went for an 11 made up of René Román in goal, a back four of Luca Ferrone, Igasi Vilarrasa, Olaortua and Delgado, a central midfield pair of Cordero and Armando flanked by Canario and José Fran and a front two of Vinicius and Dioni (returning to the starting line-up). In the Balona ranks were two ex balearicos; Gerard Oliva and Fito Miranda, and both technical secretary Jordi Roger and strength coach Jesús Estrada both used to work for Balona.
The first half, notable for the strong wind, was very even throughout, with few chances. Until the 14th minute there were no clear chances for either side, when Dorrio – the best player for his team – set up Oliva who headed just wide. The first sign of danger from ATB came in the 28th minute from a left footed striker from Cordero which went a meter wide of the post. Cordero had a Good first half. Dioni and Cordero tried their best but always lacked the final ball to cut open the opposition. In the 29th minute Dioni stole the ball outside the box to set up Vini but his shot went over. A good chance. In the 40th minute Diorro received the ball in front of René with the keeper showing safe hands in almost a one-on-one situation. In the 42nd minute Dioni saw his goal chalked off for offside and the two teams went into the break at 0-0.
In the second half ATB came out on the front foot. They were helped by a resplendent Canario who at times carried the team by himself. In the 67th minute he set up Luca Ferrone after great play on the left wing to beat the full back; the shot beat the keeper but was cleared off the line. It deserved a goal. Armando constantly wanted the ball, driving forward and trying to find a way through a very organised opposition. It was extremely difficult to break them down, however hard ATB tried they were unable to get a clear chance one on one against Nacho Miras. Xavi Calm made some changes, bringing on Manel and Álex Robles for José Fran and Vinicius. ATB continued to knock on the door, breaking down the wings and putting in crosses but were unable to find a striker. Balona were content to play on the counter, but also lacked cutting edge despite bringing on their star player Koroma. Just when it seemed that the draw was inevitable ATB won a free kick outside the area. Too far out for a shot, but perfect to put in a ball which Ignasi did well with a great cross to the back post where it was met by ‘Olaortua Airlines’ flying in – the ball clipping the woodwork as it went in and sending the fans in the Estadio Balear into raptures. The happiness nearly blew the roof off Balearic stadium. The last kick of the ball, three vital points, and even more important after Villarreal B slipped up in their game.
Atlético Baleares: 13. René, 12. Luca Ferrone, 20. Ignasi, 4. Olaortua, 5. Delgado, 6. Armando, 8. Cordero, 7. José Fran (77′ 2. Robles), 10. Canario (c), 9. Vinicius (77′ 11. Manel) and 17. Dioni.
Real Balompédica Linense
: 13. Nacho Miras, 5. F. Morante, 7. Loren, 8. Leandro (77′ 4. Jesús Muñoz), 10. Ñito González (c) (69′ 12. Bandaogo), 15. Borja López, 17. Gerard Oliva, 18. Víctor Mena, 19. Chiro (58′ 6. Coulibaly), 21. Dorrio O. and 25. Masllorens.
Referee: José David Martínez (Murcian).
Booked for ATB: Cordero and Vinicius.
Booked for RB Linense: Dorrio
Estadio Balear: 1.800 Spectators. Strong Winds.
Post Match Comments:
Xavi Calm: “They are three points like any other but the emotions are different. When you think that you’ve dropped two points, to score in the 95th minute always reinvigorates you and you celebrate more, but we have to keep moving forwards. They are a team that have showed that they are strong competitors, they are organised, and they don’t let you catch them on the counter. The wind was uncomfortable for both teams, it was hard to be precise with long balls, and it hurt us with short passes. We were able to score from a set piece in a balanced game, which shows how hard this league is and you have to be ready for anything. We played after hearing the Villarreal result, the good thing is that it evens things up, that they are less far ahead, but the best thing to do is focus on ourselves. Now to eat, celebrate, and tomorrow focus on Alcoy. You don’t always get what you deserve in football, Linense played well but in the second half we stepped it up and pressed for the win. The most important thing are the three points. Cordero after not training of playing for a month and a half… had an amazing game. His experience is important, he knew how to protect the ball, even on a yellow… I’m very happy with his work and it’s a good thing for us to have him back. Álex Robles came on because we though Koroma would play on the left, to help Luca Ferrone cover him. Koroma is very quick and Robles is a great centre back, we wanted to put balls into the area and that went well. Last week when we lost at Castellón, we were looking forward to this game. We had a great support from the fans when we were struggling and we’re very happy”
Cordero: “Very happy to win against a rival who made it hard. Based on how the game went , and the goal I’m very happy, and above all to be able to play 90 minutes. I felt better than I hoped physically, I have worked hard to get to this point and, luckily, everything went well.”
Olaortua: “We knew that it was a difficult game because this team defends really well, so I’m happy with three points. I’m happy, playing well and that hast to continue. In the end there are routines that you work on but in the last minute it was put the ball in the box and try to shoot. We knew they were a tough team, that press well. The win is deserved, they only had two shots on goal. Happy and hopefully we carry on like this. The first half we were a bit nervous. In the second we made more of an impact. Villarreal have lost, we do our thing and carry on.”