Elche CF Just Do It!
The last two matches of this season’s Spanish Segunda Division took place last week. They were the two legs of the play off final for promotion to La Liga between Elche CF and Girona. After 42 games Elche had finished in 6th with 61 points and Girona in 5th with 63 points.
The results for their matches this season saw Elche taking all 6 points. Elche beat Girona away 2-1 in October, and at home they won 1-0 in June. Elche could gain confidence from their head to head form. Girona could gain confidence from their latest performances, as they went unbeaten in their last 8 regular season games.
The first leg kicked off at 22.00 on Thursday night in Elche. A small crowd, socially distancing, cumulated in the streets around the stadium to welcome the team buses. The pitch was looking awful, with lots of brown bare patches, but once play started it was evident that the roll of the ball was not effected. The game itself was very slow, very tight and with very few chances. Two long range shots from both teams, both ended with nothing. Girona’s best chance came from Samu whose strike just shaved the outside edge of Edgar’s far post. Elche’s chance came when Josan cut in from the right hand side, passing to Pere Milla. This was a great opportunity, but Milla failed to convert, not getting the shot on target. The uneventful game eventually ended on 95 minutes with a 0-0 scoreline.
This was a very positive result for Elche, as they had kept Girona from scoring that all important away goal. In order to make La Liga, Elche had to score at the Estadio Montilivi and had to maintain a goal difference of no more than 1 less than Girona. Any other result would see Girona promoted, based on them finishing higher up the table in the Segunda Division.
On Sunday Elche travelled to Girona by air, arriving at lunchtime ready for the 22.00 kick off. The teams were facing their biggest game of the season with the huge prize of ascension to La Liga awaiting the winner.
Jonathas Jesus was back in the starting line up, after serving his 2 match ban for his sending off in the first Semi Final game. The first half was much the same as the first leg, with very few shots on goal. Elche CF only had 35% of the procession and did not once test Riesgo in the Girona goal. Jonathas got himself booked again for an idiotic challenge, causing Pacheta to instruct Pere Milla to warm up with a view to a substitution, but this was not needed. The 1st half ended 0-0. Elche CF came out strong for the second half and were soon bolstered by a straight Red Card for Girona’s star player Stunani for a nasty tackle on 61 minutes. Surely Elche could capitalise on the extra man advantage and not have the game go to extra time. Patcheta reinforced the team by substituting on forward attacking players Pere Milla, Dani Escriche and Fidel Chaves. Still the goal proved to be elusive.
Injury time of 8 minutes was announced and added, the pressure was ranking up. THEN IT HAPPENED with just 2 minutes left Pere Milla put a header in to the back post. Gooooooaaaaaalllllll!
Fantastic result for Franjiverde Fans. Elche CF will play the next season in La Liga!
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