3.4. El Season Finale
Contents: the Battle for Second Place begins as we stand on the brink of Champions League Qualification for the first time in the club’s history.
🎵 Suggested Tune: “In the End – Linkin Park” (Spanish Acoustic Version)
Technically we are still in the Title Race. With 5 games to go we are a point clear in second position, albeit a significant 5 points behind league leaders Real Madrid with the same number of games played. Atletico Madrid are breathing down our necks in third place, while Barcelona will be disappointed to find themselves four points behind us in 4th position. It’s all to play for as we commence the end of season run in and the final furlong of La Liga Santander 2020/2021.
Our run in is trickier than it looks with three tough away fixtures against Real Betis, high flying Levante and finally Athletic Bilbao on the last day of the season which is as hard an away fixture as you will find in this competition. In between those are Home ties against Malaga and Granada which we absolutely expect to take full points from – therefore our overall goal for these 5 games is to win at least 4 and potentially draw one assuming we are put to the test away from home.
21/04/2021 Real Betis vs CD Tenerife
Betis will be disappointed to find themselves in the bottom half of the table with players such as Dani Olmo, William Carvalho, Mohamed Elneny and Marc Bartra in their ranks. We know they won’t be doing us any favours however we start strongly with a goal on 15 minutes from that man Brenner, what a hero he is turning out to be. Our lead lasts just 18 minutes however before Mohamed Elneny equalises for Betis on 33 mins, and the score is 1-1 as we head in to the dressing rooms at Half Time. The good news is that Atletico are 1-0 down to Levante which would see them go level on points with eachother and add further fuel to the fire in the quest for CL qualification. A couple of half time tweaks and changes seem to do the trick and goals from youngster Pedro Luis Acosta and backup LB Hector Hernandez seal the three points for us which puts us 4 points clear of Atletico who ended up losing to Levante!!
24/04/2021 CD Tenerife vs Levante
Next it’s our turn to take on Levante who (apart from ourselves) have been the surprise package this season so far – largely thanks to their 18 year old wonderkid Pepe Gomez (dubbed the new Raul) who has scored 22 goals in the league to date – the “Wnt” beside his name tells me that Real Madrid are sniffing around. We start the game with a 4-4-1-1 Gegenpress knowing we need to score a few goals with that kid on the field, and it’s a good start as we go 1-0 up thanks to a neat finish from Carles Alena who is about to finish his third season on loan with us. We’ll never afford him on a permanent transfer but I’m happy to keep bringing him in on loan without having to pay all his wages!! Just as I prepare for our half time team talk, the kid Pepe Gomez pops up out of nowhere and smashes the ball in to the back of the net to make it 1-1 at the break, and unfortunately that’s how the game finishes as we drop points much sooner than we would have hoped in these last 5 games of the season! Atletico have gone and beaten Real Betis 3-0 so now only a point separates us again; the good news is Real Madrid had a stalemate with Espanyol, which means the league is still within our grasp even if we don’t expect to win it!
02/05/2021 Malaga vs CD Tenerife
Having held us to a 0-0 draw in our stadium earlier in the season, we expect a difficult trip to Malaga who themselves are in danger of relegation should results not go their way, sitting just 3 points clear of the relegation zone. The game certainly started difficultly as we find ourselves 1-0 down inside 20 minutes thanks to a goal by Gabriel Barbosa who is on loan from Inter. This prompts a series of aggressive shouts and demanding more by an angry Irishman on the sideline, and it seems to do the trick when Ademola Lookman equalises on 27 minutes. Suddenly the game does a U-turn and a quickfire brace from Brenner gives us a 1-3 lead at the break. “Don’t get complacent” he says .. “I have faith in you to get out there and make the difference”; the players love that shit, and not only do we go out and dominate the second half, we pick up our highest league win ever as Lookman picks up a hat-trick and Antonio Marin grabs a goal just before the final whistle – final score:
Meanwhile in Madrid, Atletico keep the pressure on us by beating Real Vallecano by 2-1 and it’s still all to play for with two games to go.
09/05/2021 CD Tenerife vs Granada
Athletico Madrid have beaten Bilbao in the early fixture, therefore the pressure is on us as we face another over-achieving side in Granada as they look to secure Europa League qualification. Carles Alena shows us that pressure is for tyres however, as he puts us 1-0 up inside 2 minutes to score our fastest goal of the season. At Home this should be a comfortable win however anything can happen knowing what’s at stake (which either way will literally be the highest league finish in the club’s history). I’ll expect a statue if we can pull this off. Brenner clearly loves scoring on the brink of half time to put us 2-0 up at the break, however that feared complacency creeps its way on to the field as we allow Sergi Guardiola (no relation) to make it 2-1 on 53 minutes. Always a dangerous score, not forgetting that we have the youngest team in the league however we manage to put the game to bed via a cracking volley from Sandro Tonali on 64 minutes.
Real Madrid have beaten Levante to seal the La Liga title for the third year in a row; technically we can still finish level on points with them however as they beat us earlier in the season, their Head-to-Head record against us means that we can’t catch them. This means that we will now go in to our last game of the season vs Athletico Bilbao battling for second place in La Liga, just one point clear of Atletico Madrid who play Granada in their last game of the season. Win and we make history; lose or draw and someone else will be writing it for us….
Here’s how the two teams line up for today’s end of season encounter:
Tenerife fans will look on in the hope that their team can continue their good form and pick up all three points today against a Bilbao side that are looking to secure a Top 10 finish and potentially finish in 8th position this season – disappointing by their own standards, but looking at the performances of teams like Tenerife, Levante and Granada the level of competition has increased year on year in La Liga. Los Chicharreros will also be anxiously keeping an eye on the score between Granada and Atletico Madrid knowing that if the latter win and Tenerife fail to do the same, they will have to settle for third place which you would certainly agree they would have taken at the start of the season!
The game kicks off and Tenerife look up for it right from the go. Los Chicharreros win a corner on 5 minutes, Fagner swings it in and it’s a GOALLLLLLL!!! On loan Italian Midfielder Sandro Tonali is completely unmarked and smashes a header into the back of the net – absolute scenes in Bilbao for the away fans!!
Bilbao look dangerous on the ball but the Tenerife back 4 have been solid all season and are able to deal with everything thrown at them. Half-time arrives and it’s Tenerife who are still in second place as things stand despite Atletico holding a 2-1 lead over Granada. Things couldn’t be tighter with just one point separating the sides and Los Chicharreros know that a Bilbao equaliser will drop them back to third place in La Liga. Our team-talk is simple – don’t get complacent, it ain’t over till it’s over; no fat ladies singing yet etc etc. The lads look motivated and determined as they get ready to head out through the tunnel for the most important 45 mins of our season.
The second half kicks off and Bilbao are looking a lot more confident on the ball now as they have nothing to lose. They create 3 or 4 chances in a row and have numerous shots on goal however they fail to hit the target repeatedly, and there are multiple sighs of relief from the Tenerife fans. That is, until the 75th minute when a mistake by Fagner allows Bilbao to counter and suddenly the ball is in the back of the Tenerife net!! Tenerife fans have their heads in their hands knowing that Atletico Madrid are still 2-1 to the good.
BUT WAIT – THE REFEREE HAS RULED IT OFFSIDE!! Unbelievable scenes here as it appears the linesman’s flag has gone up – goalscorer Hervias was a mile onside, but it looks like the flag has gone up against Inaki Williams who had strayed into an offside position and therefore is deemed to be interfering with play…let’s take a closer look:
As the ball strikes Hervias’ head (we can just see it below the “v” in his name) – Williams is arguably a fraction offside behind Matvienko and the officials have decided that as he is between the ball and the goalkeeper, he interferes with play and the goal is ruled out for offside. Can’t say I agree with the decision, but Tenerife fans will take it and they still hang on to that coveted second position. The match continues….
Free kick to Tenerife! It’s been an outstanding season for Xadas – the Portuguese star has scored 18 goals and had 13 assists in all competitions for Tenerife this season, and is one of the bookies favourites to pick up the La Liga Player of the Year award. We have seen him score from this range already this season..can he do it now when it matters most?
GOOOOOOAAAAAAALLLLLLLLL!! Xadas sends the Tenerife fans in to ruptures and that’s surely it for Los Chicharreros who are now 2-0 to the good with just 14 minutes remaining. Atletico Madrid still lead in Granada but it looks like it will be Tenerife’s day as the final whistle approaches….news has just emerged that Rodri has just made it 3-1 to A. Madrid, but it’s too little too late as the referee blows his whistle here in Bilbao and Tenerife have made history by finishing second in La Liga for the first time ever!! It’s been an incredible season for Los Chicharerros, with some outstanding performances from the likes of Rossbach, Bisseck, Xadas, Lookman, Brenner and everyone else that has made this an unforgettable season for the club who just 3 years ago were languishing around mid-table in the Spanish Secunda Division. Let’s take a look at the final league positions which confirm Tenerife’s second place finish and subsequent qualification to the European Champions League for the first time in their history.
And that’s it for the 2020/2021 season! An outstanding year for the likes of Tenerife, Levante, Deportivo La Coruna and Granada who have all exceeded pre-season expectations and enjoyed an incredible campaign this year; disappointment for the likes of Sevilla, Villareal, Bilbao and probably Barcelona who all would have expected a higher finish. Before we sign off for holidays (well, we do live on an island) – let’s do a quick recap on the season and also we receive the results of the Spanish Team and Player of the Year Awards:
Now if you will excuse me, it’s time for a small well earned low-key break:
Thanks for reading! Hope you are enjoying this save – I must admit it’s going far better than expected, either Football Manager is getting too easy or lady luck has certainly been on my side for the past few weeks. Either way I can’t wait to crack in to Season 4 with Tenerife and continue this epic story – please hit Follow below to ensure you catch the next release later this week, if you haven’t already then feel free to hit the menu above to jump back and read how we got the inspiration for this save and where it all began. As usual, thoughts and retweets etc are appreciated – you can hit me up on Twitter for future updates and FM content. Over and out, MaddFM (Paul).