Real Madrid 3 Elche 0
Well, anything can and does happen in football, however there was no revenge on Saturday in Spain’s capital for the daylight robbery of all three points back in November in Elche, when Real were mightily lucky to narrowly win 2 – 1 with an unjust Christian Ronaldo penalty in injury time, coming straight after Elche had equalised in the 90th minute.
But now in February mighty Real Madrid, with all their wealth, world-wide fame and stratospherically-paid superstars are locked in a tremendous three-way fight for the La Liga title, and all things considered the lads in green from the City of Palms didn’t do badly at all. Two goals came in the last twenty minutes to seal the Franjiverdes fate, the second being a ‘real’ Gareth Bale classic, his 10th of the season.
The big Welshman is settling down at the Bernabeu and looks to have a great future ahead: incidentally the great Christian Ronaldo was missing as he served his last game from suspension after being sent off recently against Athletico.
For Elche Manuel Herrera retained his place in goal following last week’s injury toTono, and at right back Cisma appeared for Damian Suarez. Albacar returned to captain the side at left back, and in midfield Javi Marquez replaced Carlos Sanchez. Upfront Christian was reduced to the bench with the return from injury of Carles Gil, leaving Manu Moral as the lone striker.
The only clear chance in the first 30 minutes fell to French striker Karim Benzema, who forced goalkeeper Herrera into a good save. Real then scored on the half hour by Irramendi with a low shot from the edge of the penalty area following a corner, 1 – 0 at the interval.
In the second half Elche’s strong midfield of Rivera, Carles Gil, Ruben Perez and Javi Marquezl were acquitting themselves well, and from one Carles Gil supplied pass Manu’s shot was deflected just wide. At 1 – 0 you always have a chance, but in the seventy-first minute a trademark 30 yard Gareth Bale thunderbolt crashed in off the Elche bar to give goalkeeper Manu Herrera no chance (Bale’s transfer value at €85m is about ten times the value of the whole Franjiverde team).
New Real midfielder Isco soon grabbed the third at the near post to seal it: OK, perhaps Herrera could have done better, but for me he is deservedly back as he was an ever-present in last year’s promotion-winning side. Elche coach Fran Escriba quickly made three substitutions in ten minutes around the goals, but nothing changed.
For the Franjiverdes to restrict Madrid to only three goals in their own back yard was a reasonable effort, Elche had 42% of the play v 58% for Real. The win makes 15 in 16 games for Real Madrid as Barcelona disastrously crashed out 3 – 1 to fifth-placed Real Sociedad: Los Blancos go clear top with Athletico playing Osasuna on Sunday.
Next Saturday evening at the unsociably-ridiculous hour of 10pm Elche entertain Celta Vigo. The visitors are two places and four important points ahead of the hosts, which means a great game to win for the lately-improving Franjiverdes.
In their first season back in the big time after 26 years, thirteenth place with 26 points is as good as it gets in one of the world’s most competitive leagues. Four places below Elche in the bottom three are Valladolid with 22 points, then Rayo Vallecano on 20 and propping up the league are Real Betis with 14. Thirteen games to go…
Image courtesy of www.realmadrid.com
Filed under: http://www.theleader.info/article/42730/
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