Elche CF Still in the Running
Thursday the 13th August 2020 will be remembered for two reasons. The cancellation due to Covid of Elche’s famous Nit de l’Alba in honour of the Virgen of the Assumption, and the night that Elche CF took on Real Zaragoza in an empty stadium for the 1st leg of the play off semi final.
The match started at 22:00 and would have been a sell out, instead the streets around the stadium were closed and patrolled by the Police. Fans watched nervously on televisions and via the internet. It was going to be a tough match as Zaragoza had spent most of this season in 2nd place, and only just lost out on the last automatic spot to Heusca.
Real Zaragoza started the game without their in form striker Luis Suarez, as he had been recalled back to Watford after the loan agreement had expired. He was going to be missed as he was the league’s 2nd top goal scorer, all good news for Elche. The game started very slowly with equal possession for both teams and very few attempts on goal. The game changed on 30 minutes. The incident involved Jonathas, Elche CF’s Brazilian striker who arrived in the January window for his 2nd spell at the club. Following his recovery from Covid, he had been on great form. Tonight he looked overly fired up for the fixture, always dangerous. After a coming together with a Zaragoza player, Jonathas kicked out. This took place right in front of the referee, but it still needed to go to VAR. The watching fans already knew the result, a red card and he was sent off. Elche CF had to face an hour with just 10 men.
Half time came and went. It was a half of few chances, with both teams struggling to even find the goal. The final whistle blew, with a 0-0 scoreline, a good result for the 2nd leg of the semi final which was played on Sunday evening in Zaragoza at the Estadio La Romareda.
The 2nd leg started very positively for both teams. Elche playing in their away kit of green and black and Real Zaragoza in their famous white shirts and blue shorts. Escriche up front for Elche had his first shot saved, only for the ball to ricochet off the back of a defender and proceed once again towards the goal where, sadly it rolled past the wrong side of the post. Zaragoza then had a 20 yrd screamer which was saved by the trusty hands of Edgar the goalie. Escriche had another couple of chances, unfortunately both of which were offside as the Real Zaragoza defence held their line. The home teams best chance came on 34 minutes. The Zaragoza striker received a brilliant pass and had a clear shot on goal, but Edgar was on form and yet again made the save.
The 2nd half started 0-0. Both sides threw everything they had at the match using all 5 subs! The game changed on the 81st minute when Elche veteran, Nino, shot and scored Gooooollllllllllll. Juan Cruz sprinted the ball down the sideline and slid it across the goal face. It missed the feet of both an attacker and a defender and landed in front of Nino, who placed it soundly at the back of the net. The 40 year old Capitan could not have had a bigger smile if he had been the Cheshire Cat! The game wasn’t over. On the 87th minute Zaragoza had a penalty, but nothing was getting past Edgar, so this didn’t either!
Deep joy for all Elche CF fans, our team is now only 2 matches away from promotion to La Liga!
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.