When Alex Mula asked his girlfriend to postpone their wedding for the slim hope of a promotion play off extension to his CD Tenerife season, he was probably in the dog house for a few days. Two quality goals in a 3-1 home win over Real Oviedo backed his confidence and smoothed the romantic path.
The 21 year player, on loan from Malaga, would normally get star billing for his display but it was another pleasing team effort that made it three straight victories. The play offs are still a tall order but regardless of the destination, the journey is enchanting the fans, 14,600 people turned up for the Friday night game. Let´s not forget the little matter of more absentees through injury, including Juan Villar who was on a hot scoring streak. Bryan Acosta took on the main supply role for top scorer Longo, with Suso, Luis Milla, and Alberto giving steady support.
It was the Tenerife defence that shone in the early exchanges, Camille´s return to the left back slot added stability, and Luis Perez was outstanding at right back. Former Tenerife player Aaron tried to deceive Dani Hernandez with a low free kick to the near post but the keeper was all over it. Mossa had his eyes on the home goal, twice Perez robbed him of the ball with ease. Just 18 minutes into the game a long ball from Carlos Ruiz was chested under control by a leaping Longo who turned to dispatch the ball into the net in one flowing movement.
Acosta was making his prescence felt, a quick break was cut out by Herrero in the Oviedo goal. A high tempo and work rate has lifted Tenerife´s performances to a new level. Turning defence into attack is a feature of the rejuvinated team, Carlos Ruiz, an inspiration at 34 years old, outjumped Oviedo players and prompted several good forward raids. The second goal was another cracker, Longo got bundled off a high ball that dropped loose, Alex Mula pounced on it and had the vision and skill to launch a long range rocket past the goalie.
The second half opened with Oviedo trying to up their game, they managed to hit the post before Tenerife took charge again. Acosta should have got the third goal but took the ball wide and blasted it into the side netting. Longo and Acosta were building a nice understanding, the Italian won the ball off Verdes and set up Honduran Acosta who shot wide again. Acosta turned provider with a gentle pass for Alberto, he got his boot too far undr the ball and blasted it over the bar. Oviedo are trying to hold onto a play off place and caught Tenerife out with a Saul breakaway that finished with a glancing header by Forlin into the home goal.
Tenerife responded positively with more attacking play, Aitor Sanz, a sub for Suso, played a more adventurous role than usual, and with Alex turning on the speed on the left, the chances kept coming. After 72 minutes another Acosta break tore Oviedo open, a square ball to Alex took out the defence, and the youngster buried the ball in the net. There was a brief danger as Oviedo found a way through but a strong kick away from Dani cleared the threat. It was good to see Juan Carlos Real get a five minute run out as Alex departed to loud applause. The sub hasn´t had a look in for a few weeks but had a half chance blocked after good work from Longo.
The win didn´t bring a big jump up the table, still 12th, but Tenerife reduced the points gap on the top six to just four points. The only negatives from the win were bookings for Ruiz and Alberto that mean they are suspended for Sundays game at Numancia. Tenerife hopes of getting extra dates in the play offs are alive and kicking, as for Alex Mula, he has a new special date of 2nd July for his wedding.
This report was originally published in Canarian Weekly , you can read all my sports coverage in the free newspaper. I will try to add the reports to this blog from here on, they will be just over a week after the games, and a few days after the paper hits the streets. For more CDT info, check out www.armadasur.com