Pedreno made just two changes to his starting line up, giving a clear indication that a preferred eleven is starting to form. Veteran Ricardo Cavas recovered from the injury sustained at the weekend to again partner Martin in the centre of defence and was much improved. Adrian Banderas joined Jorge and Carrasco in midfield with Torrevieja lining up in a 433 formation, which became 451 for the long periods in which they did not have the ball. The attacking trio of Rafa Gomez, Luis Carlos and Juanfran rotated the wide and central positions at will, with whomever was wide at that moment in time having to provide cover to his full back as Elche looked to penetrate the flanks.
It was clear that Elche were a level or two higher than their hosts, but they struggled to open up the Torrevieja rear guard. In fact it was Torrevieja who had the first half chance with Jorge, Carrasco and Juanfran linking well to release Luis Carlos, scorer of the goal on Saturday. The nimble wide man saw his cross-come-shot get sliced clear. A few minutes after this, the pitch took it’s first victim. The playing surface at El Vicente Garcia far belies the rest of the stadium and is normally one of the best surfaces in the country, but today it was cutting up and leaving players looking like inexperienced ice skaters. Martin slipped and Aaron Niguez ran through, only to be stopped by an excellent bit of one-on-one goalkeeping by Oscar. Aaron Niguez was Elche’s danger man in the first period. After fifteen minutes he picked the ball up on the left, set off on a mazy run and saw his right footed effort clip Oscar’s right hand post. He had a half chance later in the half, a half volley that he steered just high and wide and just before half time lost another battle of the minds in a second one-on-one with Oscar. Elche’s goalkeeper, Pol, was the first of the two custodians to make an error that led to a goal. Just before the half hour the ball was rolled back to him and Luis Carlos set off in hope of forcing a hurried clearance. In fact he ended up with more than he hoped for, Pol completely fluffing his lines and presenting Luis Carlos with an open goal, and the man back from Novelda duly accepted his second goal of the pre-season campaign.
Torrevieja, clearly spurred by the goal which had come arguably against the run of play, pushed on and were looking threatening on the counter attack. They broke and suddenly Rafa and Juanfran had doubled up on the last man. Rafa slipped it into Juanfran and he was away, a moment where the new signing with the big reputation could show the home faithful that their search for the twenty-goal-a-season striker was over. He rounded the ‘keeper, chose not to give the ball back to Rafa, who had the better shot, in clear predator fashion (you rarely saw Ian Rush or Gary Lineker pass in these situations) but his shot hit the defender who had recovered to the goal line. It was defining moment of the game, as right on the stroke of half time Elche were gifted an equaliser. A long, straight ball down the middle drew Oscar out of his penalty area. The previously unlucky Aaron Niquez saw the ball fall to him on his trusted left foot and he rolled the ball home.
The second half became the standard pre-season friendly, the many substitutions affecting the rhythm and flow of the game. There was, however, a winning goal of immense quality. Alvaro Gimenez drifted across the penalty area, leaving Ricardo Cavas and Vicente in his wake, took the ball wide and then fired low and hard back across Oscar. Again Torrevieja had been beaten by a moment of sheer quality.
After two games, how have the new faces at CD Torrevieja performed? Of the ones who had the most minutes, Luis Carlos stands out as the leading signing. The winger has two goals in two games and has been involved in most of the key attacking moments so far. Juanfran, who has been the leading scorer for his previous sides in the last three seasons, looks like he is a Carlos Tevez-esque bull-in-a-china shop type striker waiting to burst into action. He has the touch, the strength and the movement when playing through the middle, but his effectiveness appears to get blunted when switched to the flanks. Ricardo Cavas, the experienced defender, was far better against Elche. He was calm and assured in the face of movement, pace and skill that he is unlikely to encounter over the regular league season. Lewis, who caught the eye against Cordoba (and not just because of his pink boots) put in a second hard working shift. If there is a finishing edge to the work ethic then Pedreno may have plucked a talent out of the lower divisions. Finally, David Rivas has looked a little rusty which is unsurprising given he has not played for a couple of seasons, but again against Elche he appeared to be improving minute by minute.
If you could judge a team by it’s pre-season then you would have to be very excited by the potential at El Vicente Garcia, which is all the more reason to support the club in their upcoming Tercera Division Group Six campaign. Season tickets cost as little as 100€, which works out at approximately just 6€ per game. The new Adidas kits that the team will be wearing for the season are now available to buy, both online at www.tiendacdtorrevieja.tictail.com (as of Friday 24th July), in the club shop at the stadium (open Tuesday 1130-1330 and Thursday 1700-1900) and the Torry Army office in San Luis. Other outlets will be announced over the coming weeks. For more information contact [email protected]
This Friday sees Hull City Academy come to El Vicente Garcia in what should be the showcase game of the pre-season. Tickets cost just 5€ and you can reserve a limited edition commemorative ticket by emailing the address above. Kick off is at 8pm, gates will open at 7pm.