Victory in the fight for the PRO

Sunday saw the start of the second half of this atypical 2020/21 season, with ATB due to play six games to compete for a place next season in the new Primera RFEF (Third division) or Segunda B Pro (Fourth division) against three Extremaduran teams and two from Madrid, although they will not play any games against the latter. Points are accumulated across the two halves of the season so Xavi Calm’s team need to gain at least 3 points to catch Villanovense in second place to go up. Xavi Calm already mentioned in his presser last Friday that it was a bonus to be able to have all 21 players available – something that hasn’t been the case for most of the season so far. Only able to call up 20 players Cobo was the one who missed out. Calm went for a team almost identical to the one that beat Getafe B 3-1 two weeks ago. He wanted to reward the players who had played a fantastic game, with lots of chances, especially in the second half. René in goal, a back four or Luca, Peris (the only change returning from suspension), Olaortua and Pedro Orfila, a double pivot of Cañas (improving physically and fitting into the team more each day) and Armando (who scored in the last game), a rejuvenated Canario joined by David Haro on the wings (also finding his best form in the last game) and a front two of Vini and Manuel who have built a strong understanding with one or the other always scoring in recent games.

The first half had a clear winner: ATB. The team attacked mostly down the right flank, with Canario and Luca Ferrone overlapping and bombing forward the whole time. Cañas bossed the game and dominated the centre of the park yet again, opening up the game with his quality and movement.  Manel and Vini fought tirelessly against the back 5, especially the three powerful centre backs. In the 8th minute there was a clear penalty not given as Manuel was pulled over by his shirt during a corner.  In the 16th a good pass was played in behind for Haro whose exquisite control allowed him to take a shot that went just over. The clearest chance in the first half hour was in the29th minute – Armando driving forward and shooting from the edge of the area and hitting the crossbar. The opposition keeper Sebastián Gil could only watch it onto the woodwork. In the 32nd minute Don Benito almost scored from a  rebound – Aguado cutting in from the left and his shot clipping Luca and onto the near post, but fortunately René was there to stick out  hand and push it wide for a corner.  In the 36th minute ATB were denied by the crossbar yet again. Peris this time driving forward and hitting a powerful strike against the bar. The two teams went in at the break at 0-0.

The second half went much the same. It began with a good one on one chance for Manel who aimed for the far post but saw his shot go just wide. The Catalan striker had a great game despite not scoring, fighting for every ball, assisting and working hard for the team. In the 60th minute Cañas ran three quarters of the length of the pitch but his shot was also just wide. A great game from the Andalucian. In the 66th minute the goal came to secure the three points. The move was started in brilliant fashion by Armando, with a sensational piece of skill followed by good combination play from Canario to set up Alberto Gil at the far post to fire past the keeper left footed. A key goal, and the first from the Valencian winger this season. Xavi Calm had made some changes minutes beforehand with Alberto and Coro coming on from Vini and David Haro. After the goal ATB were focused and well organised, with Armando coming off to applause for Cordero to shore up the defense and shut out Don Benito. In the 77th minute Alberto Gil almost scored from a counter attack only to be denied by a good save from keeper Sebastián Gil. The game finished with ATB defending long balls into the box, but between René and the defense these were dealt with easily. Three important points gained in this mini-league to secure one of the two places to play in the Primera RFEF next season.


Atlético Baleares: 13. René, 2. Luca Ferrone, 22. Pedro Orfila (c), 4. Olaortua, 3. Peris, 7. David Haro (63′ 17. Alberto Gil), 6. Armando (72′ 16. Cordero), 8. Cañas, 10. Canario (85′ Fito Miranda), 9. Vinicius (63′ 20. Coro), 11. Manel

CD Don Benito: Sebastián Gil, 2. Trinidad, 5. Selím (49′ 3. Joserra), 8. Gonzalo (c) (72′ 6. Robe Moreno), 9. Aguado 10. Manu Ramírez, 11. Sergio Chinchilla (72′ 19. Xiscu), 15. Konate (72′ 22. Abraham), 17. Álex Herrera, 18. Dani López (64′ 7. Rafa Mella) y 21. Artiles.

Stadium: Estadio Balear. 400 spectators

Goals: 1-0 Alberto Gil 67′

Referee: Javier Kevin Moreño Muñoz (comité murciano). Booked from ATB: Luca Ferrone, Canario, Manel y Alberto Gil y from Don Benito Gonzalo, Chinchilla, Álex Herrera y Artiles.

Assistant referee: Ángel Teruel Esparza (comité murciano)

Fourth Official: Alejandro Clemente Ortuño (comité murciano)

Post match comments:

Xavi Calm: “It’s three very important points, I knew that they would give us the boost that we need right now. It was difficult, things go like that, there are hard days and you have to overcome them. I’m happy for the team, the fans and the club. There were several different phases of the game; they are intense in their pressing and they made us uncomfortable at times, we had chances to score a second but we weren’t able to find it. The format (of the league) gives you that kind of game, happy, three points and carry on improving. I always say that the team is not 11 players, those that came off the bench and those that didn’t, they all help the team. The team is united and we need to take advantage of that. I think that a bigger scoreline would have been better, so that we didn’t suffer so much but we weren’t able to score, but we held on well to the lead and hopefully the goals will come next week. Everyone had a good game, they understood that they had to run without the ball so that the opposition couldn’t find space to play, I’m happy with Canario and Armando and with everyone because they worked hard. Vini felt a twinge in the left leg and a cut that wouldn’t stop bleeding but he’ll be fine. There are 6 finals with little margin for error – now there are 5 left and it’s different from a regular league. We have to overcome it and try not to slip up. Today we did that very well.”

Alberto Gil: “Very happy, you always want to contribute and it means a lot to get three important points to move forward. We’re up there with the others, our objective is to get into the PRO and we will work hard to take another 3 points next week. Very little has changed, the team is continuing to do what it did before, we know we’re playing lots of games, the club is playing a lot, the fans are always supporting us and we have to work hard to be up there (at the end of the season). We don’t think about the format of the PRO for next year, we’re thinking about now, this club always aspires to the maximum. Sadly this year we haven’t been at those heights and that’s a shame because we want to achieve the dream of we have been so close to, but the season has been that way and now the objective is get into the PRo, that is the minimum that this club aspires to”.