Shaq Moore was the unsung hero for Tenerife on Wednesday evening, stopping a sure goal from their opponents as they gained a first-leg advantage over archipelago neighbors Las Palmas in the promotion play-off.
CD Tenerife 1 – 0 UD Las Palmas
After captaining Tenerife in their final game of the season over the weekend, a meaningless 2-1 home loss to Cartagena, Moore was again the starting right back for his team in their critical first leg against their next-door neighbors.
Samuel Shashoua was on Tenerife’s bench, but was not called into action.
Tenerife faced Las Palmas twice during the regular season, losing on both occasions by a combined 3-1 scoreline. With the prize of a possible promotion to Spain’s top tier on the line, they narrowly turned the tables on Thursday, giving themselves an advantage heading into the weekend’s second leg.
On paper, Las Palmas was by far the more dominant of the two sides, holding a remarkable 72% of possession on foreign turf. Nevertheless, the hosts were opportunistic with their limited time on the ball, taking as many shots as their opponents, and most importantly scoring the lone goal of the game.
For his part, Moore was one of the better players for Tenerife on the right side of the defense, taking one shot on goal and setting up another, while helping to neutralize their opponents’ final push.
Most importantly for his team’s promotion hopes, he was solely reponsible for shutting down their visitors’ best scoring chance in the 26th minute, after Jonathan Viera broke free on the right and aimed an angled shot towards the inner edge of the far post.
While Tenerife keeper Juan Soriano couldn’t make contact with his attempted lunging save, Moore spotted the danger from the left side, and lunged in just in time to head the ball clear before it crossed the line.
Ten minutes later, his play was made all the more important when Tenerife took the lead. A free kick from near the midfield was allowed to clatter around in the Las Palmas area, giving central defender José leon the time to rush in and launch a thundering shot from 12 yards out. The ball first took a deflection off of Omenuke Mfulu before bouncing into goal for the lead.
Shortly before the half, Moore saw an attempt of his own go wide, and was shown a yellow card in the 53rd minute for a reckless, sweeping challenge on Alberto Moleiro.
In the end, Tenerife held on to take the victory over their neighbors. They will need to preserve their narrow advantage in the return leg on Saturday evening, with the winner facing either Eibar or Girona later in June, with a spot in the lucrative La Liga on the line.