It didn’t take long for Ibiza and Pontevedra to become well acquainted. Tomorrow, Ibiza will meet the team from Rias Baixas for a fourth time in a little bit over four months. After the first league encounter (15 September, a 2-1 Ibiza win), a first-round Copa del Rey match-up was washed out by rain and wind. In early January, that match was eventually played where Fran Grima and Ángel Rodado ensured that Ibiza would progress to the next stage. As the squad sets off for yet another trip to Pontevedra, it will be the third journey to Galicia in as little forty days. “We really know each other well by now”, acknowledges Pablo Alfaro who doesn’t mind returning to Pasarón, “a really good stadium” and a place he has fond memories of as he started his coaching career there eleven years ago.
Returning from Pontevedra with another victory won’t be an easy task for Ibiza. The Galician side has been on a run of poor results of late and it’s precisely that negative spiral that forces the home side to look for three much needed points. Not having won during the last five rounds and having lost by a scoreline of 3-1 at Mareo against Sporting B most recently, Carlos Pouso’s team are a “wounded opponent” as Alfaro put it in yesterday’s pre-match press conference. “They’re having trouble to get going this year, but in saying that, they will create plenty of problems for us. Their squad is designed to be sitting much higher up in the table than they are. After being on a positive run of form, they then started to drop off and have struggled since. We’re going there with the intention of keeping our run of victories going to stay right up there where we are now”, said Alfaro who is aware of the challenge Pontevedra represents after having incorporated a number of new signings into their squad. One of those players is Rufo who joined the team from Internacional de Madrid after a successful opening half of the season having bagged a number of goals.
Ibiza’s only definite omission for the trip is Diego Mendoza who misses the match due to suspension after having accumulated five yellow cards. Alfaro has twenty footballers available for selection to complete a squad list that can include both Borja Martínez and Pierre Cornud, the club’s winter incorporations, with both players ready to feature having come in “with a good level of competition and rhythm”.