Fifty-eight years after SD Huesca’s official birth, the football club from the Gates of the Pyrenees in the region of Aragon and to the Northeast of Zaragoza earned its place at the top of Spain’s football pyramid after ending 2nd in last seasons Segunda campaign.
After promotion was confirmed, little Huesca was immediately instilled as favourites for the drop by those who enjoy gambling on sports with plenty of reason.
After all, this is a club with no pedigree in La Liga and whose highest ever finish prior to the 2017/18 season was a sixth place in the Segunda.
Also, with its El Alcoraz stadium holding just 7638 spectators (only slightly bigger than Eibar’s ground), the prediction was games against Huesca would have the feeling of a training ground match as opposed to top-flight encounter.
Perhaps a little harsh, and Barcelona lookalikes Huesca started the season brightly with an impressive 1-2 away win at the equally tiny aforementioned Eibar.
However, with the similarities between Eibar and Huesca undeniable (similar size grounds) and a similar rise from obscurity to the top from the lower leagues (even if Eibar are now an established La Liga proposition), the shock of the results was put down by many as pure beginners’ luck.
However, what followed was a not just luck.
A 2-2 away at the rigid Athletic Bilbao in the atmospheric San Mamés was enough proof to dispel the early season doubters and make the rest of
the league stand up and take note.
But (and here’s a big but) ever since that result, there has been a problem, the opposition has been taking Huesca seriously and playing strong teams against them which has left manager Leo Franco’s chance to catch many of his opponents unawares for the first half of the season now obsolete.
Next up was Barcelona at the Camp Nou and that was never going to be easy.
However, the visitors did manage to do what many have failed to do and that is net two away goals thanks to strikes by Juan Hernandez and Alex Gallar.
Unfortunately, at Huesca’s end, Barcelona ran eight goals through them thanks to a brace apiece from Suarez and Messi, a single goal apiece from Jordi Alba, Ivan Rakitic and Ousmane Dembele and a Jorge Pulido to firmly bring an end to the honeymoon period.
A home game against fellow promoted side Rayo Vallecano followed and the expectation of points was on the horizon for Franco’s men.
However, expectation is a dangerous thing and a sole Gilbert Imbula strike was enough to send the visitors home with the three points in the bag.
Next up was Real Sociedad to the El Alcoraz but more misery followed with another 1-0 home loss.
This defeat was especially galling for the home faithful as Sociedad were reduced to nine men with Juanmi dismissed in the 71st minute and Theo Hernandez was given his marching orders in the 82nd minute.
Nine men proved enough for the visitors to hang on and steal the three points which may prove costly to Huesca come the end of the season.
Despite a bright start, the minnows are now learning that top flight football is an unforgiving place and missed opportunities will prove twice as expensive as they did in the lower leagues.
A trip to the Wanda Metropolitano to face Atletico Madrid is up next for Huesca with few people holding up much hope for points before last season’s surprise package Girona head north to Aragon.
Even a point from Huesca’s next two games will prove that the newly promoted side has learned their lesson with the harsh realities beginning to hit home for Huesca.