It was the 65th minute of the game and Elche was having the worst of it against a Villarreal who were pushing hard and had been about to score through Yéremy Pino, in one of the few mistakes made by the Franjiverde team. At that moment, Francisco decided that it was time to resort to the magic of Lucas Boyé, who had not been able to play since 2021 due to covid and an ankle injury, which had kept him in cotton wool all week.
The Argentine responded, once again, and, when he had barely been on the pitch for ten minutes, he took a tremendous kick out of his hat, which doubled Rulli’s hands and ended with the ball in the bottom of the net against the delirium of the franjiverde fans, who returned to pay homage to their idol.
A goal worth its weight in gold. Second consecutive victory for the first time in the season and three fantastic points, which allow Elche to move away from the relegation places and enjoy the happiest moment of the current season.
It was not a brilliant game. But Francisco’s team knew how to play it at all times. Through a lot of intensity, very high pressure and a lot of solidarity and collective effort at a defensive level, the franjiverdes knew how to stop Emery’s team, who arrived at Martínez Valero on their best run of the season.
Francisco’s Elche is a brave, cohesive group, with very clear ideas and that knows how to overcome adversity. Neither Fidel and Helibelton Palacios’ casualties due to covid, nor Pedro Bigas’ absence due to injury and, as if that were not enough, Roco’s warm-up injury, in addition to Piatti’s positive hours before the match, reduced morale and commitment of some footballers who believe in the Almeria coach.
And if you have Lucas Boyé on top. Everything is possible.
Francisco practically repeated the same starting eleven that beat Espanyol the previous day. He only made two changes. Barragán entered on the right side for Helibelton Palacios and Diego González returned after serving a penalty.
The rest of the team is becoming more defined and they have become untouchable players. Mojica on the left side has recovered his best version. Mascarell and Gumbau complement each other perfectly and have raised the level considerably. Tete Morente and Pere Milla are tireless at the extremes and, apart from that, they add verticality and overflow. Up front, Lucas Pérez still has to go one step further and Guido Carrillo has taken advantage of the casualties to gain a foothold and show that he can be valid in this Elche. With the return of Boyé, the franjiverde coach has a lot to choose from.
12,433 SPECTATORS. TEMPERATURE 14 ºC: Pleasant afternoon.
intensity and pressure
The meeting began with both teams intense, pressing and looking for the rival’s mistake. This meant that during the first 45 minutes scoring chances were hardly created, except for the uncertainty that set pieces always create.
Edgar Badia and Rulli did not have to intervene. Gerard Moreno had a shot offside and Mojica from Elche hit a good cross, which Raúl Albiol touched and Tete Morente could not reach. Gumbau also tried his luck on a free kick shot. With great respect and without goals, the break was reached.
At the start of the second half, Villarreal wanted to go one step further. He intensified his dominance and Yéremy Pino was about to score in an error on a throw-in, in an indecision in Edgar Badia’s exit. Fortunately, Luis Enrique’s new international was not successful and Mojica finally cleared.
With the departure of Lucas Boyé, Elche gained momentum in attack. And in the 77th minute, after a loss of the ball, the Argentine fought with his usual pride, recovered it, made the wall with Gumbau and hooked a shot from the edge of the area that doubled the hands of the visiting goalkeeper Rulli and introduced the ball in the net bottom (1-0).
From there, Elche dedicated himself to keeping his enormous loot like gold in cloth. Emery tried everything with what little he had on the bench. But the franjiverdes showed themselves to be a supportive team and sacrificed in defense, they did not give up a lost ball and they only suffered in the final moments in a pair of corner kicks.
In the last one, Edgar Badia grabbed the ball with all his might and no one took it from him. It was the 95th minute. The referee decreed the end of the match and the entire Martínez Valero exploded with joy to celebrate a victory, which allows opening a gap with the relegation places and rewarding the good game and the improvement experienced since the arrival of Francisco.
The Elche fans are once again in a cloud, they see reasons to dream and even consider it possible to eliminate Real Madrid on Thursday in the Copa del Rey and reach the quarterfinals of the cup tournament. With this team, with this sacrifice and having Lucas Boyé, anything is possible.
▲The improvement that the team has experienced Regardless of the results, Francisco’s Elche show themselves to be a brave, cohesive team, with very clear ideas and that knows what they want at all times. He doesn’t care about the field or the rival. He always goes out for victory and to do damage to his rivals.
◆Defensive solidarity Facing a rival that handles the ball at its best, such as Villarreal, the franjiverdes knew how to play as a supportive team, with a lot of help on a defensive level. Yesterday he was able to keep a clean sheet again.
▼Turnovers in the opposite field To put a downside to this new team from Elche, they still have to avoid passing errors and turnovers in the opposite field, which allow rivals to launch quick counterattacks and create danger.
Queues before and after the game to buy tickets for the Copa del Rey
Expectation before the visit of Real Madrid. Elche fans, mainly season ticket holders, took advantage of yesterday’s match against Villarreal to buy their tickets for the Copa del Rey tie match this Thursday (8pm) against the Madrid team. Before the match and, above all, afterwards, there were long queues at the ticket offices of the Martínez Valero stadium. The franjiverdes fans are excited about their team’s good run and dream of causing a surprise against Real Madrid and reaching the quarterfinals.
Eddie is an Australian news reporter with over 9 years in the industry and has published on Forbes and tech crunch.