Elche CF, Rocket or Slide?
On Sunday Elche played at home in the empty 33,500 seater Martinez Valero Stadium. Their opponents were 7th placed Granada who had just returned from their Thursday night Europa League match in Greece against Panthessaloníkios Athlitikós Ómilos Konstantinopolitón or PAOK for short. Granada have 1 more game to play in their Europa League group E, but they have already qualified for the next stage.
This was a pivotal match for Elche CF, a win would see them rocket to 7th place and a defeat would see them slide to 13th place. Unfortunately the visiting Andaulsian team was the clear dominator. They played with more intent than the home team, although both lacked real goal opportunities.
Granada had their first chance after 6 minutes with a great header from Rangel Herrera. He powered the ball to the bottom corner, but Badia was not to be beaten and once again his secured hands made a sensational save. Then it was Elche's turn. From a corner kick, Verdú had an unbeatable chance as he controlled the ball first with his chest before forcefully volleying. The visiting goalie was equally alert and made a magnificent move to repel the shot. As the first half progressed, Elche looked more comfortable, but they still did not worry the Andalusians.
The first and only goal of the game came on the 42nd minute. Darwin Machis charged down the right wing leaving his Franjiverde defender in his wake and sent a pin point accurate pass to Luis Suárez who slotted the ball in at the near post.
The half time score of 0-1 did not change as the game lost rhythm and momentum, with continuous interruptions. Both teams had a couple of chances, the most memorable one coming from Granada's former Real Madrid player, Roberto Soldado.
Elche CF will take on 2nd place Atletico Madrid on Saturday the 19th December at 14:00 in the Wanda Metropolitano. They have two more games left this year, against Osasuna and Real Madrid.
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