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A day without blogging, Numancia, Espanyol, Piti and more (27th March, 2017)

Failure is a strong word. It means a lack of success, collapse, the cessation of required action.

Yesterday, I didn't want to fail.

I failed because of me. I had an article ready and couldn't post it - but that's an excuse. As every second ticked towards the 10 o'clock mark I could feel myself becoming more and more frustrated.

I was going to fail and I couldn't do anything about it. In just over a month I'm so addicted to daily blogging that the withdrawal was immense - symptoms including crankiness, anxiety and hyperactivity.

26th March will go up on the Hall of Shame, whether I like it or not. The irony of not having written for a day is that it gave me something to write about the next day - something that is amazing in its counterproductive nature.

Today's post features the games against Numancia and Espanyol, the teams that the men's and women's teams played respectively. It also features what was supposed to go up yesterday - a short segment on Piti regarding a recent interview on, as well as other news.

Miguel Carrasco, the Cadet A player who passed away at the age of just 15 to cancer, was given the customary and honorary minute of silence, and the game was underway.

600 fans came to Soria to see Rayo Vallecano play this weekend. 600 fans watched as Rayo attacked for the ball from the very first minute, putting in one of their greatest performances of the season. 600 fans watched as Álex Moreno scored in the 40th minute but wasn't given the goal for a previous collision. 600 fans saw Rayo, who had secured just five points away from home - the worst record in the division, outplay Numancia at their own stadium.

But while 600 fans in Soria saw no goals this weekend, 200 fans in Vallekas saw five.

An 8th minute Eli goal was cancelled out just three minutes later by Natalia Pablos, and then another goal by Eli would be cancelled out by right-back Raquel Carreño.

Natalia peppered the Espanyol goal with shots - one of them in the 61st minute was just inches wide. A goal was coming - it was a question of when, not if - and it came in the 70th minute. Miriam De Francisco Ramírez, aka "Mimi", had been rooted in goal for Natalia's first and could do nothing about her second either.

It seems like Real Sociedad are always going to win against Rayo.

Rayo Vallecano losing 2-1 at Anoeta was the reason for their relegation to La Segunda. Somehow I missed this, but last month (almost exactly last month - 25th February) Rayo Vallecano won 1-0 against Real Sociedad at home, yet were awarded a 3-0 loss for an infraction of Article 76 of the Disciplinary code.

Just like the 2-1 loss, this was fair too - Rayo had made five substitutions instead of the allotted four.

I agree that sometimes the media tries to make a controversy whose foundation is essentially quicksand - but what that has led to is media trained interviews and standard responses.

Which is why the interview by of Piti is so refreshing. Honest, direct and more importantly exactly what he thinks.

Some snippets:

On continuing at Cyprus

Yes. There has already been interest so that next year I can continue here in Cyprus, and if possible, I hope, in this team.

On the number of Spanish players in Cyprus

Once you make the decision to go outside, quality of life is important. You're not going to go to a place where it's raining every day. Here there is good temperature, there are beaches, good food. They are very important factors to choose one destination or another.

On leaving Granada

I leave Granada because as many people know Sandoval arrived and we do not have a good relationship. I arrived at Rayo with great enthusiasm because I returned to my club, I returned to what I consider to be the team of my life ... and once the season ends and the team descends Sandoval's returned to Rayo as well. This was a very big obstacle that I found on the way and already in the preseason he had me apart, I had to train separately and I did not have minutes. It's hard. When you see that the possibilities are going to be minimal, the playing level is always low. The truth is that when you are so long without playing, it shows.

On Sandoval saying there was no "Piti case"

I already know this person and I know that when there is a microphone and he says a lot of things that are opposite of what is actually happening inside a club. In my case I know because my relationship has been bad with him during the first year of First to this day. I have always said that he did a very bad thing to his companions for which he can not be forgiven.

On being promoted from Segunda B:

We had a very good squad with great teammates like Cubillo, Pachón, Míchel, Coke ... However, in Segunda B you can have a great year and in the end you can have a very bad game. It happened to us, because in Benidorm we had a bad game in which we could not score a goal and they scored a bit and were close to the second. Thank God we had Carlos de la Vega assisting Manolo and that gave us the pinch of luck that is always necessary to achieve an ascent.

On Anoeta

The truth is that it's a dead subject. I was injured, I entered the locker room, I saw the players with a lot of nerves for everything they were playing. I think it was an important game as there are many important ones in which you play your life and where the players do not get everything that has come out in other games. The nerves betray you and they are games in which it is wrong. Which player wants to go down to the Second Division? Which player wants to lose 50 or 70 percent of their pay for the following year? Descending with a team is a huge black spot for your resume. And more so for Rayo Vallecano, a beloved club, which everyone appreciates. It's silly to talk about it. Where are the tests? In the end that is hurting people.

He also called Míchel's appointment late but correct, and also called Granada having multiple nationalities as "shocking" - his first game against Osasuna, Granada only played three Spaniards which he said led to lack of communication. - perhaps that is the reason for their poor showings at present? He asserted that the club refused to offer him more than a three year renewal, and he couldn't accept since his future and family were at stake. 

It's important to note Piti scored 18 league goals at the age of 31 - in La Liga. He might be a late bloomer but he is a quality player who has made it in every professional division of Spain.

And while he may be Catalan born, bred and represent, residents of Vallekas have and always will open their doors and hearts to him.

Imanol Etxeberria, in 2002, moved to Rayo Vallecano, replacing the departed Kasey Keller. In his first season he became the regular goalkeeper over veteran Julen Lopetegui (also from Gipuzkoa) who retired at the end of that campaign. In 2002-03 he was the starter for most games but was challenged by Sergio Segura, and the club was relegated after four years in La Liga.

Rayo suffered a second successive relegation in 2004 - in a chaotic campaign, Etxeberria played in eight matches at the beginning of the season under Lopetegui (in his first appointment as head coach) but was largely overlooked in favour of Segura by his successor Jorge D'Alessandro, who then brought in another goalkeeper, his compatriot Sebastián Saja, on loan. D'Alessandro was then replaced by Txetxu Rojo, who again had no place in his plans for Etxeberria - he was sent away from Rayo altogether and trained with Bilbao Athletic until the season's end.

Compare that to the situation now, where on-loan-from-Middlesborough Tomás Mejías has got virtually no chance of supplanting on-loan-from-Southampton Paulo Gazzaniga.

And while first-choice Toño is injured until mid-April, Paulo has been steadily improving - from handing Zaragoza a win to clearing failed back-passes off the line against Cádiz.

But the reason I'm writing this is his performance against Numancia - on a day when the forwards failed to score, Paulo was the hero. On a day when the defenders were torn to shreads by right-back Unai Medina, Paulo was making reflex, point-blank saves. He isn't just improving - he's keeping our promotion chances alive.


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