Archive for December, 2012
And So That Was Christmas, And What Have I Done…

…Damm, those festive pop tunes still wont get out of my brain. Like a big soggy pudding, the last week has got all stodgy and mixed up so it’s time for an update before I blow 2012 out of my bottom with hardly a backward glance of regret.

The best presents of all this yuletide have been the visit of my friends Neal and Karen from Bournemouth, and a youth football tournament just down the road to bridge the yawning gap while CD Tenerife practice tactics on their new electronic soccer games. A sizzling spell of sunny weather has been very welcome too, tourism has been down in the dumps so we really want to send the bumper crop of holidaymakers home with good things to say about the rock.

Surfacing from a rather drunken Christmas day it was good to throw myself into the Arona Football 7 Tournament at the CD Marino ground, I was quite shocked to arrive to find Barcelona taking on Valencia ahead of the official 10 am start – nothing happens on time here let alone early. Anyway the footie was good and I even got the interview I needed with Liverpool coach Darren Hughes and some handy snaps of Liverpool losing 5-0 to Real Madrid.

The Titsa bus nutter hunt is a fine tradition I share with Neal and Karen so on Friday we made an early start to Icod (top pic) a wonderful twisty route like a roller coaster up through Santiago del Teide and northwards. Icod was at its post festive best but not overly busy, the bar we popped in had a strange confrontational reality show muted on the TV, it would have made the BBC blush in the 1970’s as some lecherous young chap got too familiar with his future bride and ex.

Grabbing a taxi we headed up to Santa Barbara to see my friends George and Ingrid at the Artlandya bear and doll museum, a truly beautiful place. The bears and dolls were in fine form and as usual our hosts hospitality was overwhelming with home made apricot jam cake and milkshake blended from bananas from the overflowing basket of nature that makes up their restored farm. Relaxing on the café terrace the bells of the village church were playing carols adding to the serene atmosphere perched high above the Garachico coast as lizards scuttled in the undergrowth. George whizzed us back to Icod in time for the bus south and we stopped off at El Gomero restaurant near Las Americas bus station. They were busier than ever but squeezed us in for a scrummy meal with lashings of …..Dorada – who needs ginger beer.

Whoops this was going to be a short update but I’m already rambling like Ronnie Corbett on acid. Let’s jump forward to Saturday and the final of the Arona tournament in the evening, I arrived in good time for the final between Atletico Madrid and Valencia and soaked up the friendly mood at pitch side as the young 5,000 crowd bundled to catch freebie football cards being sprayed around. It was good to see the international teams all enjoying their prime seating behind the goal and I found myself thinking again why don’t they ever invite a local team to compete and why didn’t CD Marino make more of the huge crowd to advertise their existence and future games.

The 20 minute each way game was good, some of the under 12 players looked like they could easily blag their way into the local nightclubs – what are they feeding them on? I was a bit disgusted that after Atletico scored their 8th minute winner they cynically started patting the ball around to kill time but despite a storming second half from Valencia they held on. The trophies were presented by Vicente del Bosque and the kids needed a fork lift truck to pick the mammoth trophy up, can’t wait for next years competition. There will be loads more pics and full details in The Tenerife Weekly out on Friday 4 January.

After the game myself, Neal, Karen, and The General headed down to Fañabe for some chicken and beer at the beach front followed by a stop off at Soul City in San Eugenio for Dorada nightcaps – that’s how we roll, as those nice American chappies would say. That’s better, now I feel a bit more tuned in to the world and ready for New Years Eve.

Walking Backwards For Christmas With CD Tenerife And CD Marino

It may be the season of goodwill but football games still have to be won, there are no gifts. That was the painful lesson for CD Tenerife in their 0-0 draw at RSD Alcala, and it was underlined for CD Marino as they lost 2-0 at home to Atletico Madrid B.

Wins have been hard to find for CD Marino, they desperately need some new players and new ideas, they were too predictable against Atletico with strikers Balduino and particularly Noah constantly getting caught offside. Noah set the tone in the opening minute miss judging his charge, Balduino put a good chance wide a few minutes later. Madrid were fortunate when a loose ball was pounced on by Noah but the visiting keeper came out and managed to grab the ball just in time.

Madrid looked patient and well organized and began to increase their influence on the game, home goalie Alberto did well to clear with a two fisted punch. At the other end Balduino blasted wide and Noah put a soft shot straight at the goalie. Javi Marchena put over a classy cross from the left but there was no one on hand to give it the finish it deserved.

Madrid took the lead on the break five minutes before the break through Ivan, a little cruel on the balance of play but it’s all down to finishing. After the break Adan came on for Sandro, his height gave Madrid some problems but he was playing a bit too deep. Peraza cursed himself after putting the ball into the side netting rather than equalize and Noah got up ready to launch a strong header but Gil punched the ball clear. Noah had a good shout for a penalty when he was bundled over but the ref ignored it and from the break away Madrid went the length of the pitch. Rayco brought down Manquillo, the ref wasn’t so hesitant this time and Cidoncha converted the penalty . The January transfer window can’t come soon enough for the bottom of the table side.

The previous evening CD Tenerife failed to break down second from bottom RSD Alcala despite starting with two strikers, Aridane and Guillem. The duo had poor games and failed to really test the home defence. Chechu fired wide, Aridane failed to connect when free in front of goal, and Llorente curled a long shot over the bar. Alcala had their moments, Biendi shot wide after beating Moyano, Nana unleashed a thunder bolt which brought a great save from Sergio, and a free kick late in the first half also needed Sergio to be at his best.

Into the second half and Suso tested the home keeper with a long shot and then laid the ball off to Guillem who barely tickled the ball. Cristo replaced Suso and livened things up but the moves kept breaking down in front of goal. There was always a danger of a sucker punch, Ros broke up a break away and Tarantino headed a clearance as danger threatened.

It was good to see 19 year old Ayoze Perez make his senior debut after 71 minutes in place of Guillem, he certainly wasn’t overwhelmed. Chechu went close in the final minutes but Sergio had to make a superb save to keep the ball out of his top corner, and Llorente showed his defensive quality to race back and clear from Carlos. A draw is better than a defeat but it felt like a satsuma and a walnut when we were hoping for a gleaming new Christmas toy. Aviles kindly drew the next day leaving CD Tenerife top of the pile – now that’s what I call a Merry Christmas.

Feast Your Mince Pies On This 3-0 Win For CD Tenerife

Maybe the score did flatter CD Tenerife but after recent slip ups, a 3-0 home win and a clean sheet was just what was needed to steady the ship. SS Reyes were a poor side with few threats but they were comfortably dispatched in front of a 7,454 crowd, not bad with Santa Cruz open for Christmas shopping.

The defence had become a worry so coach Alvaro Cervera brought back Bruno into the centre and it made a big difference. Suso was straight out of the traps and shot wide in the opening seconds, part of an early blitz that should have been converted into an early goal. The visiting keeper Angel was busy rushing out to clear with his head, feet, and then a full length dive. Cristo Martin was showing flashes of his best form in midfield and Inigo Ros worked hard to link defence to attack.

It took 40 minutes for the break through to come, a swinging ball in from Chechu was crying out for a head and Bruno showed his class with a strong header into the net. There was a scare just before the break as Javi Vicente flashed a shot across the Tenerife goal mouth but there was no one on hand to finish it off. Aridane was through just after the restart, again the keeper was strong and decisive. Chechu had a strong claim for a penalty when Bidari brought him down in the area but it was ignored, Cristo had a less convincing appeal and Suso couldn’t make his header count.

Aridane has been a bit of a cart horse lately but was at the races to nip in and beat the Reyes keeper after 63 minutes to make it 2-0. Suso was still full of running but took his charge too wide. Yeray came on for Tarantino, allowing Medina to drop back into defence, and Nico replaced Cristo. Aridane could have took his seasons tally to 12 goals but the goalie claimed the ball from his feet, a few minutes later a loose ball bounced off his chest and back to the keeper before he had chance to react.

Guillem took over from Chechu who had enjoyed a productive game and it looked like that was the scoring over, however Guillem popped the ball through to Nico and he nipped in behind the defence and scored a cheeky injury time goal. How nice to be back to winning ways.

Soft Goals And Hard Battles For CD Marino And CD Tenerife

It was a double dip depression for me, a last gasp 1-1 draw for CD Marino was too little against close relegation rivals Zamora and the later TV game saw CD Tenerife continue their slide with a 2-0 defeat at Fuenlabrada.

New coach Jose Juan Almeida got little more than a polite ripple of a welcome in Las Americas from a depressingly small crowd of less than 150. Balduino had a weak early effort in a poor first half, Peraza and Javi on the wings tried to make an impact but Balduino and Noah were struggling up front. Natael slipped off his nose guard after the warm up and put his busted hooter in among some sturdy challenges but creativity was at a minimum for both sides.

Visiting keeper Miguel saw more action in the second half, a free kick from Maykel kept him alert and he had to frantically close the gap from a poor back pass as Noah raced in. Zamora relied heavily on the offside trap but Javi created a few good openings, Noah had a shout for a defenders hand ball but the ref wasn’t impressed. Marino were caught napping after 75 minutes, Zamora broke down the field and had time to square the ball unchallenged across the face of the goal for a simple tap in. Balduino fell heavily after a defender brushed him in the box and was aggrieved not to get anything, Pablo warming up on the touchline voiced his thoughts and got booked for his comments. An injury time free kick was the last chance, Almeida relayed instructions to the pitch and it did the trick as the kick beat the wall for Maykel to save a point.

Fast forward to a freezing compact Fuenlabrada ground just south of Madrid, CD Tenerife looked impressive in attack, a 6th minute move from Chechu on the left via Cristo Martin to a Suso shot from the right didn’t get the goal it deserved. Medina held his centre back place with Yeray starting in midfield and Cristo back for the injured Loro. Llorente was on his away day excursions down the left, one led to Chechu hooking his shot up and over the bar. It was looking good until the home side had their first attack after 20 minutes and realized how poor the Tenerife defence was. Moyano had to mop up a couple of times after Pachon was free in front of goal and Lopez was having fun on the wing with Llorente not marking back. Lopez should have done better from a free kick on the half hour, Sergio pushed over another raid from Llorente’s vacant slot before the inevitable happened. A corner was floated into the box and hung in the air for Pachon to rise up and score with a free header.

It was more of the same after the break, Lopez again got room for a cross from Tenerife’s left, it missed the fallen Pachon but came to Reuben who swept it into the Tenerife net as the defence sat back. Coach Cervera brought on Guillem for Chechu but he and Aridane did nothing to threaten a revival. The full backs pushed up, Moyano cut in to feed Llorente but his shot was wild and high. A double substitution brought Nico and Jeremy on for Cristo and Medina, the French left winger showed some pace and ideas but Yeray was the only one making an effort to meet his creations. Suso blasted wide late on and supplied a header for Yeray but that also missed the target. These are testing times for the coach and his players, two strong results are needed or there wont be much ho ho ho in the Christmas break.


An Immaculate Day In La Laguna And Santa Cruz

Bah humbug but I still can’t resist the pre Christmas build up in Tenerife so with the lovely Karen on board my Titsa sleigh we set off for Santa Cruz and La Laguna. Where to start was the big question but the temporary ice rink in La Laguna was high on my list, unlike the Santa Cruz version last year this was more accessible with a viewing area inside and a couple of food and drink stalls. The skaters looked keen and it brought back fond memories of mini British ice rinks visited in my ice hockey watching days.

Outside in Plaza del Cristo the market was doing a good trade as we headed into the city centre via the back streets. Was that marching band music wafting in the air, turning a corner there was a long procession headed by the statue of the virgin, my memory finally cranked into action and I recalled that it was a holiday for the Day of the Immaculate Conception. We followed the parade up to the Iglesia de la Concepcion, due to the Christmas lights strung across the streets one man had the important job of lifting the decorations with a pole to avoid the virgin leaving havoc in her wake.

Catching the tram back to Santa Cruz a tour seemed a good idea, first stop Plaza Weyler and on to Parque Garcia Sanabria to view the delightful plants and flowers and to have a dizzy spin in the kids playground – what do you mean, it’s meant for children?

A quick stop at CC Parque Bulevar allowed me to introduce Karen to the Carnaval museum, once again the shopping centre was almost deserted – the whole of Santa Cruz seemed very quiet for a Saturday so close to Christmas. A port detour was next on the agenda, a couple of big cruise ships were moored on the far side including Albatross which will be popping into Los Cristianos in 2013. The gleaming, wealth oozing Attessa 1V caught my eye and cutting across the marina a Polish yacht Energa looked bright and sporty. An old friend Stavros S Niarchos loomed up ahead, part of the Tall Ships Trust it takes on volunteer crews for adventure voyages, we got an invite on board for a tour, very majestic and imposing. On the quayside the huge stage structure was taking shape for the Christmas night (25th) free classical concert with the Tenerife Symphony Orchestra.

With evening coming in we headed back to Plaza de España where a small commotion was taking place, Popeye, Fidel Castro, and Michael Jackson were playing second fiddle to a noisy group of Carnaval murgas, the Zeta Zetas were celebrating their 10th birthday by the lake with a few fire crackers and some kazoo inspired musical backing. Their jolly mascot look familiar to me as last Sunday he popped up at the Heliodoro stadium for CD Tenerife’s home game, this time unlike myself he was not wearing a CDT shirt.

One of the main points of the northern pilgrimage was to see the Christmas lights but as we headed up Calle Castillo the lights suspended above us seemed reluctant to join the shop windows in lighting up the darkness. At least the Canarian parliament building was open with their belen (nativity scene) pulling in the punters, we filed past the lavish landscape and were suitably impressed. Back outside the decorations flickered into life spot on 6.30 pm, not bad but a bit square with just a bare hint of the festive season.

On our route back to the bus station we had to pass La Noria, a popular late night food and drink area and their star spangled display left us oohing with admiration. It was still noticeable at the bus station there was no wild shopping scrum down, our bus queue was short and the journey quick. Maybe people are leaving shopping until later this year, Reyes (Kings Day) January 6 is the main event so the momentum will build nearer the time but we enjoyed more than enough festive fun to fill any pillow or stocking.

A Bizarre Advent Calendar From CD Tenerife

Was it some potent late night cheese or some dodgy mushrooms, this 1-1 home draw for CD Tenerife against Real Oviedo left me feeling dazed and confused. Another giveaway goal, bags full of missed chances, a torrential downpour, and even a mutant mascot – this game had the lot.

Coach Alvaro Cervera dropped centre back Bruno and brought Amado in from the wilderness and he had a very mixed half game. It was always going to be a tight encounter, Real Oviedo were cautious and reserved, Martinez made a couple of good openings but couldn’t turn them into goal threats even when Tarantino slipped up in front of him. Suso was his usual industrious self but Aridane looked ill at ease and couldn’t make his bulk count in the air.

The ball was in the visitors net after 40 minutes, Aridane finished off from a Chechu cross but it was just offside. Amado picked up a booking and that may have influenced the decision to replace him at half time with Yeray so that Medina could drop back into the defence. Loro was stretchered off with an ankle injury after Cerrajeria clattered into him off the ball and that heralded the arrival of Cristo Martin. Early fears were of a break but it looks like a bad sprain. The change seemed to fire up Tenerife, they lay siege to the Oviedo goal but bad misses like Suso into the side netting, and a weak Cristo shot at a nervy keeper failed to make the breakthrough.


Yeray was more creative but had the same finishing problems, Suso fired wide again Aridane missed an open goal but Suso was in the right place when a fortunate toe poke found him and he buried the ball for a 78 minute lead. The skies opened and drenched the stadium but it was a small price to pay for the victory that was surely in the bag.

Oviedo pushed for an equalizer with sub Busto giving them new purpose and when Llorente was easily out jumped and the ball fell within clearing distance of a static Medina, Cervero gratefully accepted the late gift. Maybe the mutant mascot was meant to console the 8,525 crowd but it had lousy timing as the game seeped away with two points dropped. On such a strange day we shouldn’t have been surprised to find that Real Aviles had drawn at home meaning no change at the top.