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Leganés continue their stunning rise

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    It’s very noisy in there,” Asier Garitano said. It was Wednesday night and they were going wild in the Santiago Bernabéu dressing room, wild on the pitch and then wild on the bus as it travelled down the Castellana, 17km south to Butarque, where they arrived long after midnight and http://www.raidersfootballprostore.com/WOMENS_YOUTH_JACK_TATUM_JERSEY.html with no intention of going home. “It’ll be a late one,” grinned captain Martín Mantovani. Leganés had just made history. “Look around you, Matt Dumba Jersey it happened,” Nereo Champagne had told Nordin Amrabat as he stood staring wide-eyed at an 80,000-capacity arena long-since empty but for a few hundred fans in blue and white, way up in the north stand and down in a corner of the west. They had beaten Real Madrid for the first time ever, reaching the Copa del Rey semi-final, a place they had never been. No wonder it was noisy.
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    “This is nothing to celebrate,” Garitano insisted but, while he had a point, Leganés’s manager knew better than anyone that it was – and he knew that, for once, no one was really listening to him. They weren’t listening on Wednesday night, where fans waited at Butarque, flags waving, and they weren’t listening when Leganés went back there on Sunday morning, the place packed, and won again. At the end of a 3-2 victory against Espanyol, Garitano summed up 90 minutes in 32 seconds. “In a game that was even, we scored with our first chance,” he began, “in the 45th minute we clear one off the line; the second half starts and they score; when we’re most struggling, we make it 2-1; they have a chance to equalise, they don’t; we make it 3-1; and when it looks like it’s finished, it’s 3-2 and we end the game suffering.”

    “That’s us,” he said.

    Only this time it wasn’t; this time they hadn’t suffered, they had celebrated. Beauty visited Butarque, as it always does around sundown, but this was a Sunday morning, cold and windy: the morning in which Mario Hermoso – Marius Beautiful, if we’re translating names – got a unique and historic hat-trick. The Espanyol defender scored three times and didn’t mean any of them, one rebounding in off his face and the other two rebounding past his own goalkeeper, while the shot he actually tried to score from was cleared off the line by a diving header from Unai Bustinza that nearly snapped his neck in two.

    Butarque was bouncing, but then it had been from the start. A Mexican wave went around. Songs were shared. As the fans departed, they stood and gave their team an ovation. They had come with that intention; the fact they had won made it all the better. http://www.officialbluejaystore.com/authentic-20-josh-donaldson-jersey.html And that says much about how far Leganés have come. After they were defeated in the semi-final first leg against Madrid, Marco Asensio scoring a brilliant but barely deserved late winner, Garitano had said something telling. The tie was over, everyone assumed, and he detected something a little patronising in the questions, about pride, pluck and resistance. “We’re a first division team, eh,” he said.

    They are – and they will be next season too, for the third time. Earlier in the season, Garitano was asked about Leganés’s chances of qualifying for European football. He said the very idea was “stupid”, but a Copa del Rey win would get them there and in the league they are only one point off seventh, which if they don’t win the cup, is likely to be a European slot. Win their game in hand and they would be two points off Sevilla. That match is against Real Madrid, true – but then so was the quarter-final. Besides, look the other way and Sunday’s victory puts Leganés 11 points and six teams above relegation, with that game in hand. This year they have reached a first Copa del Rey semi-final, played in a first local derby too, but not the last; it’s been quite a journey and it’s not over yet. Which isn’t to say they shouldn’t look back at what they’ve done.

    On Wednesday night, as the focus turned to Madrid’s collapse, few directed their gaze across the hall to the other dressing room. They should have done – even at the risk of patronising them. Leganés are, as Garitano insists, a first division team and should be treated as one, but it is a status they have earned. At the beginning of the 2013-14 season, Leganés came up from the Second Division B; two years later they won promotion from the Second Division to the first, making their debut only 18 months ago. Against the odds, they survived. This is their second season in primera – ever – and their budget has gone from €1.5m-a-year to €4.5m to €42m. Which is still less than a 10th of Real Madrid’s.

    When it was Virgil Green Jersey put to Garitano that his players represented those trying to get by on €1,000-a-month, he gave it short shrift, insisting “no, come on, they earn much more than that here”, but he did admit the gap between them and the top is “gigantic” and that really is where they have come from. Mantovani slept rough one night as he sought Danny Amendola Authentic Jersey a footballing career in Spain; Alex Szymanowski used to sell washing machines; Dimitris Siovas is their record signing, arriving this summer for more than twice as much as their previous record holder. He cost £2.7m. Their manager’s first job was coaching a team of unemployed footballers. Now he coaches the team that faces Sevilla in the semi-final this week. wholesale mlb jerseys wholesale jerseys cheap nhl jerseys wholesale nike nfl jerseys china basketball jerseys custom

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