if the UD Las Palmas he forgets that the game next Saturday (5:30 p.m.) is a derby against CD Tenerife at the Heliodoro Rodríguez López, he will realize that what is coming for him is a team that is choking him this course, closed, good defensively, with upside potential even though he hasn’t scored a goal from a play since the end of January –he has scored two penalties– and that on top of that he will be spurred on by the stands, whose greatest joy of the course, as is the panorama , it may be putting a stone in the path of the eternal rival. With those few arguments, but efficientthe blue and white team won both games in the semifinals of the last playoff, which, on the other hand, supposes the great pending account of Xavi Garcia Pepper.
Everything happened very quickly at UD in the final stretch of last season, just one year ago, when in mid-March the yellow team lost at home against Girona and everyone at the club considered the course closed. Even the dressing room, which surely because they had taken the pressure off themselves, came out like a motorcycle in the following game in Valladolid, won after completing a great match and, suddenly, began to believe, so much so that they registered their best numbers in all of history in a League final: nine wins –the last five, in a row– and two draws in the last 11 days that led them to finish fourth and play the promotion.
The yellow team improves to that of the last ‘playoff’, to which it arrived without mental or physical strength after coming back
So dizzying was the escalation, with clear victories sometimes and agonizing others, that the duels against the team came tired, especially mentally, to the duels against the Tenerife. Somehow, he missed the placement of the flag after crowning the mountain. It was impossible for him.
But the UD was not inferior only in the psychological plane, but also in the sports one. García Pimienta, who had begun his yellow journey with more pain than glory, and who had turned the team around, so much so that he came as the favorite to go through the tie for what he had shown only three days before, lost the battle with Luis Miguel Ramis, whose approach in both matches was victorious.
In the first leg played on June 1, 2022, UD were too slow, predictable, excessive, until they took a blow from José León, the only one who saw the goal that night at the Heliodoro. It is true that Sadiku’s loss due to muscular problems in the days prior to the clash limited Las Palmas’ options, but the team was unable to find any way towards the goal except on one occasion by Rafa Mujica.
In the return in Gran Canaria the blow came much earlier, twice, and with the injury of jonathan viera, who arrived dead in the playoffs, the tie was sentenced when there was still an hour to play. In summary, the yellow box had no chance of qualifying practically at any time in the semifinal.
Less than a year later, things have changed, although UD still has shortcomings when it comes to attacking a closed team, as it has shown recently, especially in Leganés, in Andorra and 75 minutes into the game against the ponferradina. But now Xavi García Pimienta’s team is much better defensively and has more quality up front.
Regarding the starting teams that faced Tenerife in the playoffs, Aléx Suárez and Coco replace lemos and Raúl Navas, Loiodice to Kirian and pejino to Jesse. In addition, Loren, the favorite to start on Saturday at the Heliodoro, improves on Rafa Mujica and Rober, who were at the forefront at the time. Beyond the names, the idea and the group is what stands out the most in the new UD, and that is where the main difference lies that will have to be worth to the Gran Canaria team to win on the neighboring island. As if that were not enough, the opposite is true of the rival: the squad has worsened and the concept is not as clear as before.
That is why the account that García Pimienta has with Tenerife, with whom he lost the two times he faced, should be settled within four days at Rodríguez López. Beyond the meaning of the derby, the coach will test his ability to choose the right path and make the right decisions to prevail against a team that will give him the ball, like so many others in the category, and that he is not worried about doing so, because With that method he already managed to beat him twice.
UD already did it last season in the League when Pepe Mel was still the coach, weeks before he was dismissed. That day, January 2, 2022, Kirian scored a great goal from outside the area to end a drought of more than 20 years without winning in the enemy camp. Las Palmas also dominated, but it was unpredictable in his style, as unforeseen as the shot from Tenerife from far away almost to the top corner.
On Saturday, UD faces Tenerife, but also García Pimienta and Ramis. It is the particular duel of two coaches with different philosophies and, for now, only one winner.
Declared High Risk
The Permanent Commission of the State Commission against Violence, Racism, Xenophobia and Intolerance in Sport, meeting yesterday at the Higher Sports Council, agreed to declare the Canarian derby between CD Tenerife and UD Las Palmas next Saturday (5:30 p.m.) at the Heliodoro Rodríguez López. It should be remembered that it is not the first time that the match of the greatest Canarian rivalry requires greater police attention, but that it is a common practice, since at least 690 yellow fans will be present in the stands of the blue and white venue -in the corner that joins the stands of Herradura and San Sebastián-. Surely thanks to the declaration of High Risk, the last derbies did not leave any serious incidents on the part of the fans. | PS