Elche’s Play Off Place chase will go to the final game
Another busy week for the Franjiverdes from Elche as they played 2 of their final 3 games.
Elche hosted Albacete, their nearest geographic rivals, in the last of the staggered kick off times of the season. A win would put Elche back in 6th whilst Albacete were fighting off a relegation zone placement. After only 24 mins Albacete's Fuster was sent off following a nasty tackle that was first given a yellow but after consulting VAR became red. The game was slow with not many chances. Albacete had a shot blocked by Elche’s defence, with a handball appeal turned down by the referee. The 2nd half saw Elche finally split the defence. Sending the winger down the line to cross back for Jonathas to slot home from 4yds on 52 mins. Again VAR was called for, but this time to confirm onside. Albacete had a golden opportunity as a low cross came in, but somehow from a distance of just 2yds the striker managed to send it high over the bar. On 90 mins Jonathas shot and scored again from 4 yds. A 2-0 win which saw Elche take 6th spot with just 2 games remaining.
Friday night’s trip was to Fuenlabrada, just south of Madrid to play in the Estadio Fernanado Torres. Named after the famous Spanish striker who was born in the town, but never played for them as he was signed by At. Madrid as a child. Fuenlabrada are in the Second Division for the first time in their history. Elche 6th against Fuenlabrada 7th. Like a play off final, this would be tough.
The 1st half saw Elche have more of the possession but both teams created very little. Elche had 3 good chances, but could not convert the shots to on target shots. Half Time score 0-0.
No sooner had the 2nd half whistle blown, then Fuenlabrada found themselves a goal up. A very long ball was pumped up into the Elche goal mouth. The defence could not clear, the shot was saved by Edgar, but the ball landed at the feet of the Peruvian Rodriguez who fired it home from almost point blank range. It got worse. Jonathas jumped to defend the cross in from a corner, but bizarrely raised his hands above his 6.3 foot frame. The easy handball decision resulted in a penalty which resulted in another goal. Elche were in trouble. As luck would have it, on 73 mins VAR confirmed another handball, this time in Elche’s favour. It was converted by a low left shot from Jonathas, giving Elche hope. Fuenlabrada then slowed the game using every trick in the book. With time and tempers wearing down, Fuenlabrada broke an Elche attack and Rodriguez got his 2nd goal. All 3 points for the opposition and a complete reversal of table positions.
The final game will be on Monday evening, too late for the print run. IF Elche win at home to middle of the table Real Oviedo and IF Fuenlabrada loose away to relegation zone Deportivo la Coruna THEN Elche CF could be in the Play Offs! This may or may not be the last report of the season!
When spectators are allowed into stadiums, we will once again be organising coach tours and tickets to all of the Elche CF home matches. Click on the home page of www.eurotourguide.com to sign up to the newsletter for all the latest information about our Coach Tours.