Another date in the schedule of Spanish football means it is time for a new edition of LaLiga Overtime. A match day in which football was overshadowed by many refereeing calls that have hoarded all the covers. But we are not here to talk about the officials.
This time around, we will discuss three names that stood out during the 12th date of the 2023/2024 season: Iago Aspas, Alberto Moleiro and Artem Dovbyk.
LaLiga Overtime – Match Day #12:
The desperation of celtism:
Celta are undergoing a disappointing centenary year. A subpar sporting planning, a bad start to the league that puts them on the fight to avoid relegation and multiple controversial calls against them. The Galician side had an chance to clear the bottom of the table against Sevilla. After taking the lead thanks to a goal from Starfelt, the Olivic squad saw, once again, how everything went south in the last few instances of the match.
A mistimed tackle from Renato Tapia left the team managed by Rafa Benítez with one less man on the pitch. Afterwards, in the 84th minute, En-Nesyri would tie the match up and expose the weakness of Celta in the last minutes of duels. This year, the Galician side are the team that has conceded the most goals in the last 15 minutes (nine). To be exact, 45% of all the goals they have received (9/20) have come in the final stint of matches. A disaster that is dragging them down.
But the match would not end with the goal of the Moroccan striker. A penalty from Jesús Navas on Tasos Douvikas unleashed controversy in Balaídos. After the VAR reviewed the play, the head referee of the match, Hernández Hernández, decided that the foul from the full-back was not enough to call a penalty. A correction that enfuriated the stadium and, above all, Iago Aspas.
The player born in Moaña aggressively took down the screen of VAR. The desperation portrayed by Iago was an accurate representation of what Celta fans are going through, an agonic centenary year. As, when Aspas plays, he is the best footballer in the history of Celta, but when he is outside of the pitch, he is their biggest fan in the entirety of the planet.
An unfortunate gesture that shows how passionately the forward feels for the badge. Because Iago Aspas feels the colors as much as anyone else, and his desperation is the clear reflection of feeling celtism, something deserving of being highlighted in the twelfth edition of LaLiga Overtime.
‘El pibe’ from Las Palmas:
Unión Deportiva Las Palmas have had a promising start to the season in their return to the Spanish First Division. With 12 match days under wraps, the islander side have overcome any level of expectations. Many analysts believed that the roster managed by García Pimienta was destined to fight to avoid relegation, but the reality is very different.
At the moment, Las Palmas are currently sitting in the tenth position of the championship with 17 points, ten ahead of relegation. Along with Girona, the Islanders have been among the most surprising teams this season as a result of their magnificent yet surprising defensive performance. After conceding just 11 goals, they are, alongside Atlético de Madrid, the team that has suffered the least goals in LaLiga, only behind Real Madrid (eight).
But this time, we will not talk about Vallés, Álex Suárez, Mika Mármol or Sergi Cardona. The time has come for us to discuss one of the gems of the category: Alberto Moleiro. The winger was one of the sensations of the previous season in the Second Division with eight assists and as a key piece for the promotion of the ‘Pío-Pío’ side. In preseason, he suffered an injury that or prevented us from watching him play from the start of the year, but ‘El pibe’ from Santa Cruz de Tenerife has showed out to the world.
His first start against one of the top teams in the competition like the ‘colchoneros’ was a tribute to the shamelessness of the Canary wonderkid. At just 20 years old, ‘El pibe’ has mesmerizing talent for football. He demands the ball, dribbles and finds his teammates. He does not fear the responsibility of being the natural successor of Jonathan Viera, a club legend.
With number ’10’ on his back, Moleiro gave a ‘clinic’ on how to be a great winger and was involved in the first goal of Las Palmas with an assist to Kirian. A 65-minute long presentation to society for Alberto Moleiro. 65 minutes for us to know that the Canary winger will be the star of Las Palmas. 65 minutes that mark the begging of a successful career for ‘El pibe’. A performance that earnt him a slot in this week’s edition of LaLiga Overtime.
Dovbyk, a tank made in Girona:
We must, once again, talk about Girona. I feel like I am getting repetitive, but the truth is that a I could analyze an aspect of the current solo leader of the First Division, Míchel‘s Girona, every week. I have previously talked about Savinho‘s ‘samba’, Aleix García‘s quality or the band directed by the manager from Madrid.
It is now time to talk about their striker, Artem Dovbyk. The Ukranian forward joined the Catalan side this summer in exchange for eight million euros in a transfer from Dnipro. A signing made to help forget ‘Taty’ Castellanos who has soon began to make his signing profitable.
Ever since his first match against Real Sociedad, the striker showed that he possesses the required instincts. In his debut in Spanish football, Dovbyk scored a critical goal for Girona to acquire their first point of the season in a Champions League stadium. That was the first step for a complete striker that does so much more than scoring goals.
This week at ‘El Sadar’, Míchel’s number ‘9’ gave a masterclass on how to be a total striker. A player that is a tank on aerial play and has a silky touch on the ball. The Ukrainian was the best player on the pitch against Osasuna. A goal and two assists that allow Girona to keep dreaming with a historical feat this season.
A magnificent start to the season for Artem (six goals and four assists) who is establishing himself as one of the most in-form strikers of not only LaLiga, but also Europe. Consequently, he had to be a part of this match day’s LaLiga Overtime.
Translated by Nuño Alonso.
Main image: Edit Pablo Benítez.