What a tremendously entertaining, high energy, back and forth paced half. Five goals, virtually no defending, definitely what you'd expect from two teams in desperate need of the full three points from today's match.
Racing didn't wait long to get on the board. In the 14th minute, Mexican international Giovani Dos Santos put Racing in front with a tremendous run and header. Papa Kouly Diop curled a near-perfect cross in to the box from the right wing that curled right between two defenders, just as Do Santos split them when a well timed run. Dos Santos headed the ball hard off the ground and it rebounded perfectly in to the top corner of the net.
The early goal only energized Hércules who went right on the attack, threatening the Racing goal multiple times and forcing some excellent saves from goalkeeper Toño. It was essentially an all out siege by Hércules on the Racing goal and if not for the dreaded triumvirate of good goalkeeping, well timed defending and off target shooting, you could have easily seen Hércules with a two or three goal advantage early.
Hércules appaeared to have equalized in the 37 minute, but Abraham Paz was whistled for a foul on Toño in the box and the goal was disallowed. Three minutehes later, they finally broke through. Hercules forward Sendoa was allowed to sit in space in the Racing box and after Tapias redirecting a Tiago Gomes cross, Sendoa buried a beautiful off-balanced shot inside the far post.
Racing answered right back, as Dos Santos completed a first half brace, catching Hércules alseep on the counter. Dos Santos ran on to a nice pass at the top of the box and chipped a shot that caught Hércules keeper Juan Calatayud flat footed and completed by surprise.
Before I could even finish writing about Racing's second goal, Hércules scored again! Tiago Gomes took a left-footed shot that deflected off the ankle of a Racing defender and beat Toño at the far post. Terrible luck really for Racing, but I doubt Hércules will be complaining.
At this point there was simply no defense being played. Racing scored their third goal in the 45th minute, this time a header from Henrique off a Adrián González free kick. How Henrique was allowed to slice through the Hércules defense I'll never know, but credit to him for getting his head on the ball despite some contact with the keeper.
What an out of control and blinding offensive minded half of soccer, tremendously entertaining stuff and I can only imagine what we'll see in the second half.