Defenders Of The Dream Inspire CD Tenerife Promotion Attack

Last line, rear guard, or solid stoppers. All negative terms for defenders, but  to CD Tenerife coach Luis Migel Ramis they can be so much more. Centre back Jose Leon cast a giant shadow in the 1-0 home Canarian derby against Las Palmas that started the promotion play offs last four. Leons hooked clearance off the goal line robbed a Las Palmas striker of an easy tap in as the first half unfolded. USA international right back Shaq Moore made his own devine intervention from just under the crossbar.

A few days earlier, the regular league season had ended with a shock 1-2 home defeat to Cartagena. Newly capped Montenegro central defender Nikola Sipcic stood out and scored the consolation goal. That loss and a Las Palmas win saw the Gran Canaria side jump above Tenerife in the final league table. There´s no extra time or penalties in the play offs, aggregate score play off ties are decided by those final league placings. That left Tenerife with an extra incline favouring their neighbours, so a first leg semi advantage was vital.

Jose Leon wasn´t just in top defensive form, he showed clinical finishing after 36 minutes. Mario Gonzalez struck the ball at goalie Alvaro, it rebounded out and Leon drilled his shot with purpose from the edge of the box to bulge the net. The huge sound output of the 19,732 home crowd was instantly cranked up another notch as the yellow wedge of 700 Las Palmas fans squirmed in silence.

The second half was tense, CD Tenerife were pinned down for a while before driving forward with renewed purpose. Andres Martin was floored in the penalty area by keeper Alvaro but the ref showed no interest in the penalty call. Ramis made four changes to try to craft a second goal. The best chance came from an Elady strike that tested the goalie. The crowd urged Tenerife on amidst a swirling mass of scarfs and banners to the final whistle. The outpouring of emotion from the home crowd continued as the players came to the edge of the pitch to salute them as the pride and passion flowed back in waves.

Just a slender lead left the climax of the season hanging by a thread for the away leg. Defensive strength is the hallmark of coach Ramis. That and the travelling 700 plus from Santa Cruz will hopefully push them through to the two legged final against Eibar or Girona.