Leeds United hero repeats Elland Road history despite spot-kick drama in play-off semi-final
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The veteran Spaniard was introduced as a second half substitute during Castellon’s eventual 4-3 victory but missed a spot-kick in the closing stages which forced the game into extra time.
Hernandez’s teammates did score a fourth goal during the resulting 30 minutes, eliminating Deportivo at the semi-final stage in order to set up a two-legged fixture with Alcorcon in the play-off final.
It is 22 years since Leeds knocked Deportivo out of the UEFA Champions League at the quarter-final stage, aided by goals from Ian Harte, Alan Smith and Rio Ferdinand in a 3-0 win at Elland Road – a famous night in the club’s history.
Castellon meanwhile, the club Hernandez part-owns, have competed in Spain’s second tier only once in the past 13 seasons therefore victory against Alcorcon would represent a significant achievement.
Despite his penalty miss, the 38-year-old made a considerable contribution to Castellon’s triumph, rolling back the years with two assists in the game, including for David Cubillas’ winner.
Hernandez did score a vital spot-kick last month against Real Murcia to book Castellon’s place in the play-offs. Now, the team are just 180 minutes away from potentially playing Segunda Division football again next year.