El Mexico survives Deportivo scare | CraigDailyPress.com

El Mexico survives Deportivo scare

Two weeks ago El Mexico dominated Deportivo-Craig, 5-1. In Sunday’s playoff game between the same teams it was a different story, at least for the first 70 minutes.

“It’s the playoffs so they are going to come harder because the loser is done,” El Mexico President Isidro Quezada Sr. said. “It was a completely different game because they played us better for longer.”

Playing El Mexico better included a 1-0 lead for 10 minutes of the game for Deportivo.

But El Mexico scored three unanswered goals for a 3-1 win.

In a game marked by three penalty kicks, two for El Mexico and one for Deportivo, the referees were not a favorite of the losers.

“We needed different refs,” Deportivo captain Javier Quezada said. “They were not very good.”

Javier was particularly bitter because he received a red card after a hard tackle of Jose “Pepe” Loya. At the time of the tackle, which was 28 minutes into the second half, the game was tied 1-1.

Left with an 11-10 advantage after the card, El Mexico took control of the final 16 minutes of the game. Three minutes after the card another penalty kick was called for a tackle from behind in Deportivo’s box. Quezada Jr. gave his team the lead with a low rocket into the left corner.

There was no relief in sight for Deportivo.

One minute later, Sebastian Badilla put El Mexico up 3-1 with a knee buckling move in front of Deportivo’s goalie Flavio Quezada.

“The card secured the game for us,” said El Mexico coach Jose Valencia said. “The kids brought the play up for us.”

One of those kids was Loya.

Quezada Sr. credited Loya for making the difference for the victors.

“He’s just a high schooler but he drew those fouls,” he said. “He really secured the game for us.”

In the first half neither team could secure anything. Twenty-five minutes into the first half a Deportivo shot drifted over goalkeeper Malcolm Hillewaert but his defender, Jesus Valencia, saved the goal by stopping the ball just short of the goal line.

Three of the game’s four goals came from penalty kicks, Flavio Quezada scored for Deportivo and Isidro Quezada Jr. scored both for El Mexico.

The post season can bring out the best in teams. Deportivo, the eighth seed in La Liga’s postseason tournament, played above its rank for most of the game. But the red card was too much to overcome for the underdogs.

If the members of El Mexico looked sluggish it was because they had played four games the previous day. But they didn’t make any excuses for their play.

“We did have several guys play in all those games,” Quezada Sr. said. “They may have been a little tired from that but that didn’t matter because we had to win.”

El Mexico won two games and tied twice in the tournament in Roosevelt, Utah. That earned them first place in the tournament. In all not a bad weekend for the Craig team.

“We’ll be a nightmare for the next team we play,” Quezada Sr. said. “We know how to play and we have the talent to win it all.”

El Mexico will play the semifinal game on the road. The next opponent was unavailable at press time.

David Pressgrove can be reached at (970) 824-7031 x211 or dpressgrove@craigdailypress.com

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