Saturday 13th November 2021 – XÀBIA AL DÍA with Mike Smith
The biggest crowd of the season is expected at the Campo d’Esports Municipal tomorrow Sunday morning when league leaders CD Jávea host second-placed UE Tavernes in the clash of the weekend. Both sides are unbeaten this season and they have scored 34 goals between them in just nine games. And a win for the rojiblancos could open up a three-point lead at the top of the table.
During a rain-soaked training session on Thursday evening, CD Jávea head coach Manuel Esteban took the opportunity to look back at the tough draw at La Nucia last Sunday, a complicated game win which his young team were forced to cover a lot of distance and conceded two goals in the opening half before showing their fighting spirit to pull themselves back into the game and force a share of the spoils.
With regards to the big match on Sunday, Esteban is still without the services of several key players, including keeper Edu and tough tackling Ferran and Paco. However, he expressed his delight at what his patched-up squad has achieved despite these absences – considering it “outrageous” that it has maintained the momentum to remain at the top of the table. He also referred to the first team debut of goalkeeper Pedro Prats in La Nucia; both he and fellow custodian Josep Ivars are of a similar level and are both worthy of claiming their place between the sticks as competent understudy to Edu Sánchez. Ivars played against Contestano and Sueca whilst Prats featured against La Nucia and Esteban suggested that the latter is likely to start on Sunday.
It will be a tough game. Tavernes are a side that is consistently amongst the top sides each season and they have reached the play-offs the last two seasons, losing out at the semi-final stage to Group II champions Rayo Lliria CF earlier this year whilst falling at the first stage against CD Benicarló in 2019. After leading the table for the first few games, they have endured a run of five consecutive draws, allowing CD Jávea to leapfrog them into that top spot for the first time in almost two decades.