La Liga Kicks Off
Having been denied the chance to support the Franjiverdes since their miraculous promotion to La Liga at then of the 2019/20 season, the fans were finally allowed back into the Martinez Valero for the first match of the season. The 40% capacity limited meant an attendance of 9,145 most of which were season ticket holders along with a small number of general public who had been luckily enough to buy their ticket online when they went on sale 24 hours before the fixture.
The first seven minutes were a hard watch for the Elche fans as visiting Althletic Bilbao took 4 corners, testing the debuting Kiko Casilla in goal. Elche continued to make their very vocal supporters nervous, by making many long and inaccurate passes. As the match progressed, the team improved and Pere Milla gave us a goal, which was disallowed for being a hairs width offside. It was not Milla's day as at the start of the second half he sent wide, a clear head to head with the goalie. The game finished 0-0, which was a gift for the visitors and a shame for the locals who deserved a victory.
There was huge midweek excitement when a new signing flew in by private Leer Jet. 31 year old Argentinian International striker Dario 'Pipa' Benedetto arrived on loan from Marseille, for whom he has scored 16 goals since 2019 and previous to that 32 goals for Boca Juniors.
On Sunday, Elche travelled to Madrid to take on the current champions at the Wanda Metropolitano. The first half was evenly matched and relatively unremarkable, apart from a school boy error from new keeper Kiko Casilla who joined Elche on loan from Leeds. Casilla ran to a through ball, intending to kick it away, but he completely missed the ball, leaving the on coming Correa with a golden opportunity of an open goal. During the opening minutes of the second half Casilla more than made up for his error with 2 phenomenal saves. Just after the 60 minute mark Pere Milla made way for Benedetto's debut. The 1-0 result did not really reflect the match, which saw Elche CF playing some of their best football of recent years.
EuroTourGuide are offering coach travel for 11€ to the Martinez Valero on Saturday 28th for the 19:30 kick off, please book on www.eurotourguide.com. Match tickets should go on general sale this week and will be available on www.elchecf.es for the top tier seats for 15€ to 30€.