Fired up by the fans protests ringing in their ears the CD Tenerife players came out hungry to tear Recreativo apart, well that was the idea but it was another half hearted display in a dour midfield battle. A generous last minute penalty allowed Nino to grab the first win in 2 months and Sundays defeat for Nastic kept the gap to safety at 11 points with 5 games to go.
The frustration and anger of the fans came to a head with a pre match demonstration outside the dressing room side of the stadium. Around 300 fans turned out with banners and chants aimed at the board and the players for the way they have dragged the club to the brink of semi professional football down in Segunda B, the third tier of Spanish football. Some of the fans boycotted the first 10 minutes of the game but many more voted with their feet, the open spaces on the terraces told their own story in a 6,872 crowd.
The game itself was devoid of passion, Recreativo in a comfortable 10th place had nothing to play for but showed more urgency, Tenerife goalie Sergio Aragoneses was on top form and rescued his team mates several times in the first half. Dani tested him after 10 minutes and Asen forced another great stop after 34 minutes but most of the action was in the centre of the park.
Mikel Alonso started for Tenerife and bossed the midfield, he’s the sort of experienced head next seasons young home grown team might need. Ricardo alongside him had a poor game, he could be one of many heading for the exit when the dust settles on this letdown of a season.
Nino was the only real offensive threat for the home side, he picked up a 5th yellow card of the season during the first half and will miss the Wednesday game at table topping Betis, as if that wasn’t a hard enough game. Hidalgo battled well just behind Nino but there was no real end product and at half time we all feared the worst.
The second half opened with a good chance for Ricardo but the CD Tenerife midfielder shot high of the target. Coach Amaral took off young gun Omar for Juanlu, a slightly puzzling call but his next change was to bring on B team goal scorer German for Durbarbier. The young forward looked promising even though he was playing rather deep. Former home defender Martinez nearly made a dream return early in the second half with a header that went close.
It looked like a certain draw but in the last minute the Recreativo keeper Fabricio charged out with German bearing down on him. The stopper cleared the ball but clattered the young striker in the process, it could have gone either way but the ref blew for a Tenerife penalty and Nino coolly stroked the ball wide of the keepers dive.
The escape hatch is still slightly open but with the league title in their sights Betis are odds on to slam the door shut on Wednesday night. The plummeting crowds are a major worry and a taster of what life could well be like for the hard core fans next season.