Manel winner puts Marbella back at the top of the league

The Marbella players celebrate Manel's goal.
The Marbella players celebrate Manel's goal. / J. Rodríguez
  • Sunday's game against Don Benito saw midfielder Esteban Granero make his first start

Marbella returned to the top of their Segunda B group on Sunday, capitalising on Cartagena's draw in Cadiz with a victory at home against Don Benito.

Coach David Cubillo made three changes that aroused pre-game interest. One was expected with former Real Madrid midfielder Esteban Granero given his first start in central midfield; the other two less so. Despite two clean sheets in a row, keeper Wilfred was benched in favour of Santomé while Yaimil took the place of Paulo Vitor.

At first, the changes didn't have the required effect as Don Benito were able to impose themselves and silence the home fans. Their most dangerous chance in the first half came from former Marbella man Sillero, whose volley was punched clear by Santomé.

The hosts knew they had to up their game in the second half. They started to control the possession better, but failed to pick the right pass in the final third. However, when the chance finally came, Marbella weren't going to pass it up.

Callejón's scuffed shot from the right was stopped by Sebas Gil but his unconvincing parry saw the ball fall for Manel to tap into an open goal - his fourth in four games.

Moments later, substitute Óscar García could have doubled his side's lead but struck the post and Juergen, who had just come on for Granero, fired over the crossbar on the rebound.

The constant carrousel of changes disrupted the flow in the remaining half an hour as Marbella successfully absorbed the pressure to claim all three points.

"I'm really pleased by the reaction in the second half," said Cubillo after the game. "It's fantastic to go back to the top."