Spanish Tercera Division Group 12

CD Union Puerto 2

(Joan, Hector Darias)

CD El Cotillo 2

(Sandro, Kawi)

Attendance: 500 (rough estimate from local media)

Estadio Los Pozos

My blog is usually filled with grounds in Hampshire. Not this week! The Terrace Traveller was on a well-deserved holiday. El Terrace Travello for five days!

Now I could try and fool you all into thinking I booked the trip purely to go and watch the Fuerteventura derby and how ‘silly’ a few days in the sun were going to be, however it couldn’t be further from the truth. Having decided to go away with my parents and girlfriend (all of which don’t like football), watching a game wasn’t high on the priorities, however I was determined to get a game in, especially after spending a football free week in Greece back in October last year.

In my initial research, I could find the grounds on the island without any issues. Trying to find a team that hadn’t dissolved in the last decade was proving trickier. I wasn’t confident that any football happened on the island, how wrong could I be. Eventually I stumbled across a forum and very helpful thread full of local football information, I found that Union Puerto were playing El Cotillo. Now these two teams meant nothing to me and like you, I had never heard of either.

Both sides play in the Spanish Tercera Division; the fourth tier of Spanish football, which I believe, is amateur level. The fourth tier is split into regionalised groups and Group 12 covers the Canary Islands. Luckily for me, I had landed on the two Fuerteventura representatives in Group 12 going head to head, what I wasn’t prepared for is how feisty the rivalry was going to be. Now I’m not talking about fans scuffling in the car park but on the pitch it had that big match feel, like Liverpool versus Everton, Southampton against Portsmouth etc.

I had obviously timed my vacation to perfection!

After sitting near some English chaps who live on the island, they gave me the lowdown of what was happening in the league. Both sides are down the bottom with only a few points separating the sides. The also assured me that it wasn’t going to be goalless! A run that prior to this game, was 106 games strong without a goalless game.

Midday on Sunday seems to be the regular kick off time for the two clubs on the island if anyone is planning a visit and I certainly would say its worth a trip if you find yourself on the island.

So I got to the ground, parked up in the car park at one end of the ground, found the little ticket window and parted with five euros. I was happy to get a ticket, I knew that a programme or team sheet wouldn’t be available so the ticket would have to do.

I walked about five paces to the right to the entrance, where a very Spanish looking chap took the ticket and I entered the ground, that was my only souvenir gone!

The weather was hit and miss during my time away, but Sunday the sun shone down on the Estadio Municipal Los Pozos, I could get used to this in January, not wearing three pairs of socks and pyjama trousers under my jeans. Just shorts and a pop punk band tee was required for this game (Destroy the Beast, Find the Baby for anyone music fans). I was going to wear my Crewe Alexandra shirt but in fear of looking too English I decided otherwise. I shouldn’t have feared anything as I was surrounded by Brits (Gringo corner as I nicknamed it). A group of nine retired/semi retired men sat behind me and were able to share some local knowledge with me as the players warmed up. They were all following the away side, a rare away game that didn’t involve a plane or a boat to get to.

In front of me were more English chaps, I didn’t speak to them but it was clear they were supporting the home side, luckily the sunshine and beers in the terrace mean for a fairly relaxed atmosphere. You wouldn’t catch Celtic and Rangers fans sitting just rows apart at Ibrox would you?

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The Ground

The Estadio Los Pozos- capacity is approximately 2000 but it would be rare to ever see a crowd like that for this sort of game. Even for a local derby 500 people was a good crowd for the Spanish part timers.

There is no traditional turnstile here, just a gate behind the goal to enter the ground. To the right, the main stand, no roof so it was a perfect sunbathing spot for us Brits who don’t see the big yellow thing in the sky all too often, especially in January.

The main stand stretched the length of the pitch, housing around 200 seats (rough guess). The seats were screwed down to the concrete but it did offer a great view of the pitch. In the middle there was cameras set up ready to film the game and a walled off seated area which I imagine was for directors and officials of each side.

The dressing rooms were underneath and the players entered the pitch with no tunnel as such on the half way line.

Opposite the main stand was a covered terrace offering some shade, there were probably seats there at one stage but the concrete steps allowed you to stand or sit. Behind each goal was uncovered standing at pitch level.

Behind the goal that you enter the Estadio at was a small wooden snack hut selling food and beer, a shame that I couldn’t get a pin badge though or even a shirt!

The ground gave the fans exactly what they needed, somewhere to eat/drink plenty of choice to view the match.

The speaker system could be dramatically improved, the music was eardrum destroying, loud and crackly and if only I understood the Spanish language to understand the announcements (that’s not a negative reflection on the club, more so my inability to speak another language).

The pitch, as you would expect was 3G rather than grass but was still being watered before the game to my amusement. The sprinklers were water cannons situated in each corner and on half way.

My final comments of the ground is the setting in which the Los Pozos sits. In the capital- Puerto Del Rosario, you can see the hills one side and the sea the other making for some impressive views stood on top of the main stand at half time.

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The Game

CD El Cotillo scored two late goals to steal a draw at the death in a game that saw Union Puerto reduced to eight players with two more sent off after the final whistle.

The home side had held a 2-0 lead up to the 87th minute when Sandro pulled a goal back before Kawi struck deep into stoppage time to send the home side into a violent rage.

Referee Feliz Lorenzo Perez sent off Jose Camino after Cotillo pulled one goal back and then Dailos and Alex both got their marching orders in the aftermath of the equaliser.

On the final whistle the home team were incensed and Juanjo, who had been subbed on 60 minutes ran onto the pitch and threw a bottle at the referee, both he and ‘keeper Dani Herrera have received match bans for their actions after the whistle.

The game had started in feisty circumstances with a few late challenges and a few early yellow cards for both sides.

Defender Joan put the home side ahead with the first real chance of the game on 12 minutes. The number four failed to connect with Alex’s corner after trying an overhead kick, however the ball fell to him whilst he was on the floor and he swung a leg at it and it nestled into the bottom corner to send the home supporters into dreamland.

The away team were forced into an early change when Pedro limped off injured to be replaced by the eventual hero Kawi on 18 minutes.

Cotillo winger Peraza showed great skill in the corner to get past two defenders before the ball found its way to Ivan Martin to shoot wide of the target from distance.

Ivan Martin wasted a good chance for the visitors moments later when he was first to Peraza’s corner at the near post but his header was just a little bit too high.

Peraza was causing all sorts of problems and showed lightning pace to beat Camino to the ball and work a cross into the box but it fell to Kawi who’s shot was blocked.

Cotillo had more of the ball in attack and were unlucky not to equalise through striker Caliche who played a give and go pass with Peraza before spooning the ball wide.

Union Puerto then had to make a first half change when Zeben hobbled off to be replaced by Dailos on 36 minutes.

Against the run of play Puerto were awarded a penalty when Cristian got the better of Killian from Juanjo’s lobbed pass and Killian nudged over Cristian in the box who was happy to go down and claim the spot kick.

Former Cotillo midfielder and Puerto captain Hector Darias stepped up and confidently struck the ball into the corner, sending visiting ‘keeper Agoney the wrong way.

Puerto could have made it three just before the break when Cotillo got into a mess and Agoney had to clear with his feet on the edge of the box but Angel couldn’t direct the shot on target for an open goal.

Cotillo came out for the second half with purpose and probably felt aggrieved with the score line not reflecting the run of play.

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The full backs pushed forward as Javi Lion’s men pushed for a goal and as left back Hugo swung a ball in, right back Killian was waiting at the back post to volley into the side netting.

Pablo Tavio will be having nightmares when he fluffed the chance to put Cotillo back into the game. The visitors had taken a quick free kick on the right side and Caliche zipped a ball across the box and Tavio was there unmarked at the back post to tap it in, only for it to hit him and miss the target to go out for a goal kick.

Puerto were staying strong at the back as Cotillo put plenty of crosses in to no avail. The hosts should have put the game to bed when Angel managed to latch onto a heavy touch by Alberto and play in Cristian but his effort was saved well by Agoney.

Cotillo were giving it a good go but sensed that they may be heading back north with nothing as the game was reaching the final moments.

Home substitute Robert latched on to a flick on and took a shot at goal but Agoney was on hand to dive and palm the ball away.

The visitors attacked in numbers with three minutes of the 90 remaining and after Peraza missed the header from Luis’ cross it fell kindly to Sandro to control and smash home Cotillo’s first goal of the afternoon.

Puerto were reduced to ten men on 89 minutes when Camino, booked on the stroke of half time for a late tackle, was given a second yellow card. The defender had gone down with cramp on the touchline and after rolling off the pitch he rolled back on to waste more time resulting in a second yellow.

The goal and the extra player on the pitch spurred on the travelling fans and players and they attacked with belief and purpose that they were going to get another, and sure enough in the final seconds of injury time, the referee awarded Cotillo with a free kick on the wide on the right touchline.

With the ‘keeper going forward into the opposition box, the visitors were going for broke and as a crowd of four players all jumped for the ball, it fell perfectly for Kawi to volley in from six yards.

The home players were clearly aggrieved and when Alex and Dailos were given a red card each, Puerto were left to play the final seconds with eight men.

The referee blew the final whistle after the restart, which amounted in unsavoury scenes from the home players who were incensed at the equaliser.

Juanjo raced onto the pitch to throw a bottle at the referee who was surrounded by home players. ‘Keeper Dani Herrera had to be dragged away by his team mates as the violence continued.

Players eventually left the field of play in what was an entertaining draw for the neutral supporters. Union Puerto will clearly be fielding a very different team with all five players receiving four match bans.

2016/17 Games: 82

2016/17 Grounds: 58

Total Grounds Visited: 150 (40)

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