18th October 2010

U.D. Lanzarote have been firing on all cylinders since the start of the season and after this latest away victory it reads; played nine, won seven, drawn one and lost one. This Championship winning form has shot the Rojillos to the top of the league with four point’s breathing space.

Jonathan Torres back to scoring ways with his first strike of the seasonThe visitors were the better of the two sides in the opening stages but it was Lanzarote that should have gone a goal up. Talented winger Javi Morales seemed to have been brought down by the Granadilla keeper but the ref waved off shouts for a penalty.

The Tenerife side went up a goal up in the fifth minute by getting round the back four of Lanzarote which was not going to be the only time they did so. Striker Airam Benítez held off challenges from the Rojillos centre backs and calmly stoked the ball low past keeper Ruymán.

In the 16th minute Lanzarote man of the match Toñito made a darting run down the right flank and cut in between two defenders in the box and appeared to have his legs snatched beneath him. The ref then had two choices; a penalty or a yellow card for the winger. He chose neither and the Lanzarote crowd were stunned that they had been denied a blatant penalty.

Minutes later and a cross from the right by defender Angel Gil was met by Toñito only to see his effort cleared off the line.

Just after the half hour mark and the visitors should have extended their advantage. Another ball over the top created mayhem in the Lanzarote defence and midfielder José Carlos found himself with just Ruymán to beat. The midfielder won that battle but his neat chip bounced off the top of the bar and off for a goal kick to the relief of the home crowd.

Lanzarote then steadied their defence and comfortably saw out the remainder of the half and looked content going into the break a goal down rather than two.

The course of the game completely changed around in the second half. Lanzarote began to dominate possession but Granadilla showed that they were not going to just sit back and protect their lead. Midfielder Nahor saw his long range effort tip the top of the woodwork and on every break they were threatening.

Lanzarote drew level in the 62nd minute following some delightful one touch football. Superb passing between three Lanzarote veterans, Torres, Rubén Rodríguez and Jotha released Toñito in full flight. He surged down the right wing then cut inside and fed a perfectly weighted pass to his overlapping team mate. Rosmen´s clever run in between the two defenders gave him the chance for a strike and he powered in a left foot strike into the far corner of the net.

The intensity of the match was thrilling. Five minutes after the leveler Toñito let rip with a cracker from 30 yards. His power blaster from the centre looked destined for the top corner but keeper Jairo at full stretch brilliantly tipped around the post.

Lanzarote were now playing their best football of the match. In the 71st minute a pin point cross from Rúben Rodríguez found the head of Jonathan Torres. The back to form striker used the weight of the cross to maximize power and glanced the ball beyond the reach of the Tenerife keeper to give his side a deserved 2-1 lead.

The Rojillos were in command and to anyone who has ever played football will know that that awe of confidence can be shattered in a second.

Three minutes after going in front the major controversy of the day was about to take place. A ball harmlessly through the centre was shielded back to his keeper by Guayo. The Granadilla striker chasing the ball went down when he got to Guayo and the ref ordered a penalty kick to the shock of the Lanzarote faithful. The Lanzarote players were furious and picked up three yellow cards but nothing changed the mind of the official.

Ivan Martín stepped up and sent Ruymán the wrong way to send his side level at two apiece. The ref was getting a slagging from the crowd and to be fair to the crowd he had made some poor decisions through the course of the match but to be fair to the official I believe he got the penalty correct.

Shielding the ball is accepted in all levels of football when players run the ball out for a goal kick or a corner. This is obstruction and makes it impossible for an opponent to make a genuine attempt at a tackle without committing a foul. Whether the ref should have awarded an indirect free kick is another cause for debate.

The Rojillos then declared war on their opponents and bombarded the visitor’s goal. In the dying seconds a deep cross to the far post found Rosmen but his header shaved the post and into the side netting and the Rojillos were forced to settle for a point in a highly entertaining duel.

Lanzarote´s lead at the top has been cut to three points with Las Palmas B winning 4-0 who also has a game in hand.

Next week Lanzarote are away but are playing at home if that makes any sense. Lanzarote´s only other club in this division are Marítima and they will face the leagues top scorers U.D. Lanzarote at the joint home of both clubs. Marítima have had a quite incredible start to the season as prior to last Sundays match were the only unbeaten club in the league. Unfortunately they have only won once and have drawn all the others. In another twist of fate their first defeat of the season 4-1 away to fourth placed side C.D. Vera has now put the other Conejero (local) side into the relegation places.