Elche CF 4 points from 6
Jorge Almiron, the Elche manager, had a challenge on his hands following his teams 0-3 defeat during their first game in La Liga. Every game in Spain's top division for the newly promoted side is going to be tough, but fans were hoping for 2 wins last week as we faced two of the weaker sides.
On Wednesday evening Elche played away at the small 8,146 seater Ipurua stadium, the home of Eibar in Bilbao. Eibar were responsible for Elche's CF demotion from La Liga at the end of the 2014/15 season. They denounced the Franjiverdes for financial failure, after we accumulated debts of 6.7 million euros with the Tax Office and 5.5 million euros with the Football Association, all of which have now been paid off!. This was our first opportunity to play Eibar and we were all wishing for a win (aka revenge)
Elche CF rose to the challenge and even the commentators were saying that they were well organised, had great shape, passed accurately and were looking like a polished seasoned team. On 37 minutes our chance came and Lucas Boye took it! He pounced on the deflection from his team mate, Morentes, shot and drove the ball through the legs of Eibar defender Rodruguez and past Dimitrovic the goalie, into the far corner of the net. A brilliant goal and a fantastic achievement for the newly promoted side. Both sides lacked opportunities during the second half, although Eibar missed a golden chance on 52 minutes. After a VAR consultation, they were awarded a penalty. Up stepped Exposito, an experienced and seasoned taker, but he fired it high over Edgar's goal. The game finished 0-1 and Elche had a massive moral boosting 3 points.
With not much rest Elche's next opponent was Huesca at home on Saturday. The statistics give a true reflection of the match. Elche had 51% possession with 2 shots on goal, whilst the visitors to the Martinez Valero had 18 shots on goal with 49% possession. It was the Elche defence which literally saved the night, with Edgar making save after save. Our great goalie even punched the ball off the head of a Huesca striker, executing a miraculous save. Elche could have taken the lead on 78 minutes. In an almost identical replay of the Wednesday night goal, the ball landed at the feet of Lucas Boye. Disappointingly he kicked it just wide of the goal. Final score 0-0.
Elche achieved 4 points from a possible 6, and after just 3 matches are out of the relegation zone and in 16th place, with all of the teams below having played more games than us. The Franjiverdes take on 17th placed Alaves on the weekend of the 18th October, following a two week break for International Matches. This gives Jorge Almiron time to work on his team and maybe acquire a few much needed strikers or midfielders before the domestic transfer and loan window closes on the 16th October.
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.