Leganes, Jan 27 (IANS) Youssef En-Nesyri scored a brace as Leganes rallied for a 2-2 draw against Eibar in La Liga Matchday 21 action.
The teams had been evenly matched in their past 14 meetings, only one of which was decided by more than a one-goal margin, and that trend continued at Butarque Stadium here on Saturday, reports Efe news.
Neither side was able to seize clear control of the contest in the first half, but Eibar took a 2-0 lead thanks to their play on set pieces.
The first goal was scored in the 29th minute when Kike Garcia headed home a corner kick delivered by Joan Jordan, while six minutes later Jordan put the ball in the net by himself with a phenomenal free kick from well outside the penalty box that travelled over a wall of defenders and inside the left upright.
Leganes goalkeeper Ivan Cuellar, whose sight was apparently blocked, was left flat-footed on the play.
Plenty of time remained on the clock, however, for Leganes and Moroccan international striker En-Nesyri, who pulled one back for the hosts one minute into the second half when he received a pass from Martin Braithwaite in full stride and slotted a left-footed shot inside the far post past Eibar goalie Marko Dmitrovic.
Leganes seized full momentum after that goal, although the score remained 2-1 thanks to some stellar goaltending by Dmitrovic, who deflected away one shot by En-Nesyri and another by Braithwaite.
But the 21-year-old Moroccan, whose effort on the field is never in question, continued to battle for loose balls and heap pressure on Eibar’s defense.
The 1.88-metre (6-foot-2) striker also showed his extraordinary athleticism when he leaped up, connected on a header at a height of nearly 2.3 metres of the ground and powered the ball inside the near post past Dmitrovic.
Saturday’s draw marks the second time this year that Leganes rallied from two goals down to secure a 2-2 draw thanks to a brace by En-Nesryi, with the team having pulled off that feat earlier this season in a Copa del Rey (Spain’s annual knockout cup competition) match against Rayo Vallecano.
The Moroccan pushed himself to the limit to pull Leganes level, but when fatigue caught up to him and he was taken out in the 85th minute the effectiveness of the hosts’ offense waned.
Afterward, Leganes head coach Mauricio Pellegrino praised En-Nesryi’s performance.
“He played a great game. He always causes trouble with his speed and his ability to control the ball. When we brought him over, it was because we thought he has a great future. He’s still very young and has a lot to learn. If he’s humble, he’ll improve a great deal. He has unbelievable physical ability, so it comes down to his mentality,” Pellegrino said.
Eibar is currently 10th in La Liga with 26 points, while Leganes is 15th with 23 points.