The final Loan Report of the 2012-13 season sees us catch up on the few young Chelsea starlets who are for some reason still playing domestic European football in early June, as well as the usual round-up of the two South American based youngsters.
Jhon Pírez will rarely be afforded the opportunity to feature as the main man of the week, but the injury-embattled Uruguayan forward seized his moment this weekend with what initially appeared to have been a hugely decisive goal in Leganés’ bid to secure promotion to Spain’s Segunda Division.
Having finished second in their league group standings, the Madrid-based club found themselves in a convoluted and lengthy post-season competition incorporating over a dozen teams from the four regional Segunda B level groups, and were posed a tough first round match-up against Lleida. They lost the first leg 2-1 last weekend, and therefore needed a big performance this Sunday if they were to extend their season.
Despite having a host of chances throughout, it looked as if Lega would fall short, only for Pírez to intervene late in the game. Having only come off the bench seconds earlier, he rose to head home Bernal’s cross to put his team in the ascendancy by virtue of away goals. However, deep, deep into stoppage time – at least six minutes – Lleida scrambled a goal which sees them carry on to round two, and send Leganés home with nothing.
Further up the Spanish league ladder though, affairs are drawing themselves to a close, with La Liga pulling down the curtain this weekend. For Thibaut Courtois, it’s been a quite fantastic season. The Belgian won the European Super Cup and the Copa del Rey, qualified for the Champions League and established himself as his country’s number one goalkeeper ahead of the very capable Simon Mignolet.
His final league outing of 2012-13 saw him end up on the winning side away to Celta Vigo as Atléti won 3-1, and whilst he was unable to add to his exceptional tally of clean sheets, his eventual total of 20 in 38 appearances was easily enough to have secured him the Zamora trophy, awarded to the best number one in La Liga.
Chelsea’s other loanee in the Primera Division, Lucas Piazon, hasn’t featured for Málaga at all in recent weeks and he drew his stay at La Rosaleda to an end by missing out on their trip to Barcelona, the same team they faced in his first game there. With scarce few starts and a general lack of playing time in the South of Spain, his move wasn’t perhaps quite as successful as many would’ve hoped.
There are still a couple of rounds to go in La Segunda, which seems remarkable in itself, which means two more games for Ulises Dávila and Sabadell. The Mexican returned from a one-game suspension to play 90 minutes in their goalless draw at home to Champions Elche, who are bound for bigger things next season. After a bright first half of the season, Sabadell have tailed off late in the season and will likely finish in the bottom half of the table.
Finally, we move onto South America, where football will continue in earnest whilst Europe takes a brief breather. Cristian Cuevas will leave O’Higgins of Chile in July to embark upon his new career in England, and signed off the Torneo Transición portion of the season last weekend, whilst Wallace becomes a Chelsea player on August 1st and has a full slate of Fluminense action ahead of him before then.
He was unused for both their 2-1 Libertadores defeat at Olimpia in midweek and their domestic match at home to Criciúma on Sunday. News of any further notable action the young right-back gets up to between now and August will be recapped on Twitter @chelseayouth, as will the latter-season exploits of Dávila in Spain.