Elche CF, Game Changing Referee
On Saturday Elche travelled to Madrid to face 2nd place Atletico Madrid in the Wanda Metropolitano. Atletico have played in La Liga for 90 of their 96 seasons and have won it on 10 occasions. The Rojiblancos team line up featured many top players including Diego Costa, Luis Saurez and Joao Felix. Joao, at just 19 years old, is one of the most expensive players in the world. He signed for Atletico in 2019 for a club record transfer of 126 million euros.
This was going to be Elche CF's biggest test of the season so far, but they were not put off too much by the reputation of the rivals. The Franjiverdes had more touches, more passes, a higher pass success percentage and more possession than their opposition, but not a higher number of goals.
The first half was fairly even. Within the first 3 minutes the Ref awarded Atletico a penalty for a supposed tackle. VAR was consulted and it turned out that not only did the Elche player not make any contact, but that Atletico was also off side. This galvanised Elche and they upped their game. Their defence cobweb held until the 40th minute when Luis Suarez broke through to score his 151st goal in 200 La Liga matches. The goal came on the break from a lost ball due to Lucas Boye's yellow card, and caught the Elche players out of place and unable to defend.
Play continued much the same after half time. Luis Suarez scored his second of the match on the 58th minute. This was closely followed by a close range header by Lucas Boye. Elche were back in the running for a possible draw and went about searching for it. Frustratingly, they lacked the ability to finish off their attacking moves. The whole game changed when the Ref awarded a very dubious penalty to Atletico. Without consulting VAR, he condemned Elche due to a high footed tackle. If VAR had been consulted, then it would have showed the Elche player bending his knee and pulling his foot swiftly away from the Atletico player. Diego Costa stepped up to take the penalty, game over, final score 3-1.
Elche CF will take on bottom place Osasuna on Tuesday the 22nd at 17:30. This is a must win game before they face Real Madrid on Wednesday the 30th at 21:30.
As soon as spectators are allowed back into the stadiums, EuroTourGuide will once again be offering Coach Tours with Match Tickets to support Elche CF. Please sign up to receive your free newsletter on www.eurotourguide.com