Sunday's Segunda B fixture between Marbella and Mérida was a well-matched affair. Marbella's determination and commitment allowed them to come away with a draw after falling behind in what was a shaky second half, despite having taken an early lead.
Mérida came out onto the pitch as a home team full of confidence, and often looked like the dominant side in comparison to a more cautious Marbella. The visitors, orchestrated by Fernando Estévez in the dugout, played well as a unit, leaving few defensive gaps, but that didn’t prevent the hosts from registering a number of shots in the opening 20 minutes.
However, it was Marbella’s threat on the counterattack that helped to break the deadlock. Francis Ferrón rounded tapped home from just a couple of yards out after Catena’s low pass across the face evaded keeper Felipe Ramos.
The game took a complete about turn in the second half when Jokin Esparza levelled it up on the half volley after a brilliant attacking move from Mérida.
In the 69th minute, the hosts claimed the lead for themselves. Marbella were undone when, although under pressure, the defence reacted too slowly and failed to clear the danger in time and the ball ricocheted in off Catena’s shin.
However, the visitors’ resilience shone through and were able to catch a complacent Mérida on the break, with Ferrón slotting it home just out of Felipe Ramos’ reach, after a neat one-two on the edge of the area.
Although this was a good result for a club on the up, the match could have gone very differently without the brilliance of Ferrón both in midfield and in front of goal, and the belief of the team when faced with several offensive onslaughts.
The result, which consolidates Marbella’s place in the play-off spots, is certain to give Estévez plenty to think about before his side’s fixture against Córdoba B on Sunday.