Last Sunday, Sestao River put an end to the league competition in Las Llanas with a tight win over Tropezón (3-2). A bittersweet victory, since it did not allow them to climb to first place, which implies direct promotion to First RFEF. Therefore, the green and black have no choice but to leave the rest to try to achieve it by the longest way: the play-off. Yesterday at noon, the Federation announced the pairings and the schedules of the semifinals of the same. The Sestaotarra squad will have to face off against Lleida on Saturday at 7:30 p.m. and will do so at the Nuevo Pepico Amat in Elda.
The team led by Aitor Calle has completed a dream campaign. He has finished the league in second position with 70 points. A figure that would have served him to be champion and rise directly in three of the other four groups. Not only that, it has also been the team that has conceded the fewest goals in its group -22-, as well as the one that has achieved the best records at home -42 out of 51 possible points-. Also including a flawless second round, without a loss in their last 18 games. "The season is excellent and the numbers are there, the only thing we have is that anger that he hasn't given us the chance to get direct promotion," says the coach.
Osasuna Promises has been practically infallible this season and has achieved the long-awaited ticket to the First RFEF, with only two points of rent over the black-and-white. Therefore, now Sestao River will try to get promotion in the play-off that will take place in the province of Alicante. Aitor Calle endorses that "it could not be the short way, but we are going to do everything possible to make it the long way". A single-game play-off where the Sestaotarras, by qualifying as second, must face the fifth in another group in the semifinals. That is to say, its possible rivals were the Palencia Cristo, the Lleida, the Coria or the Hércules.
Likewise, arriving in the best possible position, Sestao River just has to tie the game after extra time to advance to the next round. Circumstance that will be repeated in case it qualifies for the final. In fact, the green and black team is the one who has achieved the highest score of the twenty participants in this play-off. That makes him one of the favorites. However, Aitor Calle considers that "in a play-off that type of label, playing it all in one game, does not have as much importance". This contemplates that the teams in the area such as La Nucía, Real Murcia, Eldense or Hércules can be one step ahead, since «they do not have to make a trip of so many kilometers, they are with their fans and they know perfectly the fields," he argues.
Therefore, their rival to avoid in this semifinal was Hercules. "Playing at home is a great advantage and also the Hercules is the one with the most social mass and the one with the largest field," says the coach. Objective accomplished. The balls of the draw determined that it was the Lleida. The Catalan team has been fifth in group three after having added 52 points. However, his has not been a bed of roses, far from it. The entity has gone through a serious institutional and economic crisis this season, with several months of non-payment to the players. Even so, they have managed to abstract themselves from this situation, obtaining a creditable ticket to this play-off, which they have had to fight until the last day.
Now, the Sestao River has a busy week ahead of it. They must thoroughly study their rival, schedule the trip and prepare as well as possible for the two most important dates of the course. A play-off is always very difficult, but “we have every right in the world to dream. We believe and trust that we are prepared and we have arguments to achieve promotion”, highlights Aitor Calle. Likewise, last night the stadiums where each confrontation will be played were designated. The Sestaotarras have had to play this semifinal at the New Pepico Amat in Elda, with a capacity for 4,000 spectators.