Valencia 2 Elche 1
Earlier in the season Elche were played off their own park by neighbours Valencia, but somehow won 2 – 1. This result was revenge, big time as the Franjiverdes still need the points to stay up, but so do Valencia to finish in La Liga high enough to qualify for Europe.
Due to two key injuries in defence there was still no place for centre back David Lomban, the evergreen Peligrin still ably substituting, as did Cisma again for left back and dead ball specialist Albacar. Christian was again preferred upfront rather than last week’s hero Boakye, supported by Coro, and Fidel was recalled on the wide left.
Honours were even in the first half as Piatti put Valencia ahead on twenty minutes, only for a rare goal from one of Elche’s heroes last year, Coro to equalise, 1 – 1 at the break. Parejo put Valencia back into the lead with a right-foot shot after a solo run, but Elche were definitely not down-hearted and took the game to their high-flying neighbours. Piatti turned villain by tripping Christian in the box, penalty awarded.
The Argentinian’s low shot inside the post looked good, but goalkeeper Gurita broke Elche hearts by pushing it round the post. Plenty more bookings arrived for both sides as Elche predictably rang the changes, Boakye coming on for the once-again ineffective Fidel, but this time no 93rd minute winner like the Getafe match last week.
Fellow worriers in the lower depths of the La Liga table Granada pulled off an unbelievable win over Barcelona to move two points above Elche, but the two sides immediately below them, Osasuna and Valladolid played each other.
A goalless draw suited Elche perfectly, a one and three point gap keeping the Franjiverdes just clear of trouble. One point below Valladolid in the bottom three relegation spots are Getafe with 31, Almeria on 30 and Real Betis bottom with 22.
Next week spirited Elche travel to the Spanish capital to take on mighty Athletico Madrid, who although in the Champions League semi-finals to play Chelsea, will want to keep up their claim to win La Liga.
Filed under: http://www.theleader.info/article/43296/
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