Ibiza will return home without three points in its luggage. The new league campaign began with a defeat in a tight contest against UD Las Palmas Atlético.
The home side took the lead when less than one minute had been played with Juan Fernández getting on the scoresheet. Javi Pérez then levelled the scores at the Anexo al Estadio de Gran Canaria five minutes later. Fran Grima had taken a throw in which Kike López, playing in a more advanced position on the right flank in today’s encounter, passed right back to the Catalan right-back. Grima then delivered a timely cross for Javi Pérez whose superb header connected with the cross and left the opposition keeper Choolani no chance.
Ibiza took control of the match soon after and took the lead on the stroke of half-time. Sergio Cirio powered his way down the left wing and brilliantly spotted the impending diagonal run of Kike López. Cirio’s pass left Kike López with just the goalkeeper in front of him who tried to stop him from circling his way around him. López, however, got around the keeper and put his side ahead with a well-taken finish, his first official goal as an Ibiza player.
As half-time came to an end, the skies opened up and produced a real downpour onto the pitch which had previously been exposed to abundant sunshine and heat. As sudden as the change of weather, so was the new-found intent with which Las Palmas Atlético looked for the equaliser which arrived in the 53rd minute. Again, it was Juan Fernández who scored. 15 minutes later, the home side took the lead via a Diego penalty kick after Ibiza was reduced to ten men with a straight red sending off of Rubén.
Pablo Alfaro responded by making an adjustment to his side in order to deal with the double disadvantage now faced for the remainder of the match. On came Mariano for Rodado to shore up the defence and Ibiza quickly began to try and make amends for the deficit. First, it was Javi Pérez with a shot from outside the box. Then, it was Raí who saw his effort go just wide to the right of goal. Las Palmas Atlético was content to sit back and defend its lead. After a few more chances were created, Ibiza was awarded a penalty of its own after the referee saw a hand-ball committed in the Las Palmas box. Keeper Choolani picked the right side and saved Cirio’s spot kick in the final stages of the match. Again it was Cirio who set up Raí for Ibiza’s last roll of the dice, but unbelievably, the Brazilian’s well-placed shot again drifted just wide of the post.
Pablo Alfaro: “We can’t afford to concede this much”
“We are not a team that speculates on a result or tries to manage a scoreline, because our philosophy of play is different than that. Having said that, we do need to learn how to read a game. Today, in certain moments, we played the way we wanted to. At other times, we did not. We shouldn’t be conceding a goal 30 seconds into the game, because then, you have to score twice. It’s a great challenge to achieve that against a side like Las Palmas Atlético that runs a lot and gets awarded for doing so”, explained Alfaro at the end of the match.
Despite the defeat, Alfaro believes that the first match of the season served and was helpful to illustrate the strongpoints his Ibiza side will surely put on display throughout the season. “Errors aside, the dynamic style of play seen today on the pitch will definitely be a clear characteristic and identifying feature of our team”.
LAS PALMAS ATLÉTICO (3): Choolani, Jesús Fortes, Lepe, Juan Rodríguez, Daní Martín, Manu Alemán (81’, Luís García), Garai, Pablo Haro (90’, D. Herrera), Diego, Alberto Reina (75’, Jürgen), and Juan Fernández.
Coach: Juan Manuel Rodríguez.
UD IBIZA (2): Germán, Fran Grima, Rubén, Gonzalo, Morillas, Núñez, Javi Lara (80’, Raí), Javi Pérez, Kike López (61’, Pep Caballé), Rodado (69’, Mariano), and Cirio.
Coach: Pablo Alfaro.
REFEREE: Manuel Pérez Hernández, Madrid delegation. Shower yellow cards to Kike López (37’), Garai (41’), Juan Manuel Rodríguez (57’) and Gonzalo (89’). Sent off Rubén in minute 67.
GOALS: 1-0: Juan Fernández (1’); 1-1: Javi Pérez (6’); 1-2: Kike López (45’); 2-2: Juan Fernández (53’); 3-2: Diego (67’) by penalty.