It was a very different line up for CD Marino in their Copa Heliodoro semi final first leg 1-1 home draw with Mensajero. Injuries robbed them of Sergio Aragoneses and Jonathan Sesma, while top scorer Balduino missed out through work for this mid week afternoon clash. Youngsters Jose Carlos, Djavan, and Alberto got the call up and the other Alberto continued his return in goal.
The missing experience looked like being costly against the big guns of the La Palma visitors grabbed a lead after 8 minutes. They broke down the left and a pass from Rayco found 14 goal Dani Lopez with space to tuck the ball in the net. Strike partner Yeray, no slouch with 18 goals to his name, had already warmed Alberto’s gloves and the pair looked ready to reap havoc but Marino showed fantastic defensive qualities from a tight midfield that restricted Mensajero’s creative play to a back four fortress with Mendy and Aridani outstanding in the centre. Just after the goal a three pronged assault threatened to expose Marino but Mendy coolly tidied up to stop the danger.
Captain Amado was doing a fine job in front of the defence and was full of confidence to come back and retrieve the ball before threading his way past Mensajero players as he turned the tide. Aridani found time to support the Marino forwards and wasn’t far off target when he smashed a shot at the reds goal. Pablo is always good for a darting run from right back and he helped to pin back Mensajero, Marino were now enjoying the best of the play. A Pablo cross tempted Djavan but he couldn’t quite get the killer touch to the ball. New boy Alberto nearly got a spectacular equalizer just before the break when he unleashed an overhead bicycle kick from outside the area.
Marino continued to keep a strong hold on the game in the second half but were very aware of the need to at least level the game. Airam replaced Alberto and added his power to the hunt for an opening. Javi Marchena pushed forward more from left back and the chances started to come, Mensajero were just hanging on. In a gamble Nestor was added in place of Amado and he went close to scoring a couple of times. Home goalie Alberto didn’t have much to do but showed his alertness when he claimed the ball cleanly after a red forward sneaked in behind the home defence. Javi Marchena had two powerful strikes repelled by the Mensajero defence and from a corner Nestor put pressure on the away keeper.
Eslava was the next blue sub, he filled a defensive role to allow Aridani to support the search for a goal. With 15 minutes left another Marino raid saw the ball come out to Airam whose well aimed header made the scores level. Ideally another goal was needed for the return leg but it just wouldn’t come, Airam had one last chance in injury time but after shaking off his marker his final touch deserted him. So it ended all square but Marino will be confident that with some missing first teamers back for the 15 April away leg they can book a place in the Santa Cruz final.