Rayo Vallecano vs Leganés predictions and match preview for Thursday’s Spanish Segunda Division play-off Semi-Final 1st Leg. Read on for the head-to-head and analysis as two Madrid clubs clash with promotion the aim for both.
- DATE: Thursday 3rd June 2021
- KICK-OFF: 21:00 (local time)
- STADIUM: Vallecas
- COMPETITION: LaLiga SmartBank Play-Off Semi-Final 1st Leg
Rayo Vallecano vs Leganés Preview
The tussle for promotion to LaLiga continues on Thursday as Madrid clubs Rayo Vallecano and Leganés lock horns in the first leg of the play-off semi finals at the Estadio de Vallecas. Andoni Iraola’s Rayo are aiming to return to the top-flight after two years in the Segunda while Asier Garitano’s Leganés are targeting an immediate promotion after suffering relegation in the 2019-20 season.
This will be Leganés’ first play-off experience in the Segunda. Their previous and only-ever promotion to LaLiga in 2016 was achieved automatically by finishing second in the league. Rayo are featuring in the play-offs for the first time since the 1998-99 season when they finished 5th and beat the old CF Extremadura to reach the Primera. Since then, Los Franjirrojos have been promoted two more times – in 2011 and 2018, both via automatic promotion.
Rayo really made it difficult for themselves to grab the last promotion spot on the final matchday. Needing just a win at home to Lugo to seal sixth place, they found themselves 1-0 down at half time and knew that if Sporting beat Almería in their game, the Asturians would overtake them. Iraola’s men didn’t get their goal in the second half but fortunately for them, Sporting lost 2-0. That meant Rayo kept their sixth place and booked the play-off spot.
Los Franjirrojos missed out on the play-offs by only two points last season. This term has been better but they still couldn’t find that level of consistency to challenge for automatic promotion. Rayo did win three straight games for the first time this year until Sunday’s defeat to Lugo ended that run. They looked to be carrying fine momentum with them into the play-offs but that loss might have slightly dented their morale.
On the other hand, Leganés carry plenty of confidence with them into this fixture. They showed no mercy at La Romareda on Sunday, thrashing Real Zaragoza 5-0 to cement their third position on the table. Juan Muñoz was named man of the match for his two goals and an assist as Los Pepineros cruised to the biggest away win in the Segunda División this season.
To add to the confidence, Leganés are currently on their longest unbeaten run of the season at eight matches, and have not conceded in the last four. Manager Asier Garitano will also be delighted with the return of Borja Bastón from injury. The forward has five goals and three assists this season and played for half an hour on Sunday after being sidelined for four weeks.
A comfortable and a high-flying win was just what the doctor ordered for Leganés before this big clash. They will be considered slight favourites in this tie but Rayo cannot be taken lightly. On their day, they can overwhelm the best of teams and Iraola will be hoping that this be one of those days.
Head to Head
- Last 6 Competitive Meetings: 4 Leganés Wins, 2 Draws.
- The sides met only last month in Vallecas, playing out a 1-1 draw.
- Leganés had won on their two previous competitive trips to play Rayo and also won the meeting at Butarque earlier this season.
Rayo Vallecano vs Leganés Predictions
Score Prediction: Rayo Vallecano 0-0 Leganés
This has all the ingredients of being a tightly contested first leg. Neither side will want to dive deep and risk it all early on. Leganés’ stubborn defence could yield yet another clean sheet while Rayo might hold their ground to prevent the away goal. It could be all to play for at Butarque in the second leg on Sunday.