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Míchel's Rayo and a dangerous Tenerife (3rd April, 2017)

Some statistics after the 3-1 win at Girona:
  • Míchel's Rayo have now only conceded three goals (one of them, against Getafe, was an own goal by Dorado) and has kept a clean sheet in its last three games. 
  • Moreover, the franjirrojos have scored five goals in the last three games, two of them from Guerra. The last times Rayo scored three goals this season were the 3-0 win against Cádiz and the 3-3 draw with Numancia).
  • The last time Rayo scored three away from home and won was on April 26, 2014, when Saúl, Larrivey and Seba Fernández gave Rayo a 3-0 win at Granada.
There was some good news in Girona - UE Llagostera, the team that underwent six promotions in 10 years but was relegated last season to the Segunda B, earned a 2-0 win at home against Levante B, which seems them move five points clear of the relegation playoff spot in the Segunda B Group 3, easing relegation fears just a little.

This win reminded me of the 3-1 win against Almería. In the 2013-14 season Rayo had lost their entire defense and their top three goal scorers to bigger clubs, and were in the relegation zone for half the season.

With just 20 points from 25 games, everyone thought they were done for. But Paco stuck to his attacking ideas, and reaped the rewards.

They first won 1–0 against Valencia, followed by a 3–2 win at La Anoeta. And then, they produced some of the most breathtaking football in a 3–1 destruction of Almería, with passes so incisive and attacks so beautifully constructed that all that was left was walking the ball into the net.

They never looked back and finished in 12th place that season.

That day, Iago Falque and Rubén Rochina dominated the wings and gave the Almería defense nightmares - this time, it was Embarba and Ebert. That day, Trashorras controlled the match - this time, he was joined by Santi.

Speaking of Saúl Ñíguez, his older brothers are Aarón Ñíguez and Jonathan Ñíguez - Aarón is a winger for Tenerife. Dani Hernández, former (underused) Rayo goalkeeper, is a Venezuelan international and is second in the fight for the Zamora - and only because Édgar of Reus Deportiu has played more games. Amath Ndiaye, on loan from Atlético Madrid, is just 20 but has scored 10 goals so far - two of which were against Rayo in the reverse fixture.

This is a squad full of legends - Suso Santana, the captain, is just one of many experienced players - and young talent. Samuel Camille, another former underused Rayo player, has been a standout at left-back.

But the player who Rayo really need to look out for is the player who was born and raised at Tenerife is the team's second captain and defensive midfielder - Víctor José Añino Bermúdez, aka Vitolo. Even at 33 and just 5'6" he is quick, aggressive and not afraid to put in a tackle - or the leg work. While Suso and Aarón are creative wingers, Vitolo is the complete opposite - and yet his passing is sometimes all that keeps the team ticking.

It is likely that the battle between him and whoever is playing alongside Trashorras, likely Fran Beltrán (although Baena played a few minutes against Girona) will be crucial.

In the reverse fixture, Tenerife may have won 3-2 at home but Fran was the clear standout player, scoring a ridiculous goal from about 30 yards out.

He may have to be the standout player again.

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