Sport » Soccer » Elche CF
ELCHE DO IT AGAIN!
Staff Reporter / 2009-08-20 08:14:46
Elche 2 Almeria 1 ... What do Elche do again? Why, beat La Liga premiership teams in pre-season games, of course!
Just to prove that last week’s 4 – 1 demolition of promoted Tenerife was no fluke, the Illicitanos’ new team for 2009/10 repeated the trick by beating established primera La Liga side Almeria 2 – 1 in the 50th Festival d’ Elx match at the Martinez Valero on Saturday evening.
Almeria are no mugs, they finished a creditable 11th last year in one of the world’s top leagues, so this victory is another achievement in Elche’s terrific revival under Claudio Barragan. Sadly it was another small crowd of 4,000 who witnessed the match, hopefully by the time the full season starts the crowds will top 10,000 as they should, given the exciting potential for the new season in the city of palms.
Claudio showed he is still experimenting with his choice of players that began the match, Ximi Navarro replaced Oscar Rubio at full back, opportunities were also given to Generelo and Jandro in midfield, with Perera the lone striker upfront. It was the latter who blazed over when he should have done better from Saul’s pass on eight minutes, and a Saul / Santos one–two was pushed away for a corner after nineteen minutes.
But Perera showed his mettle by scoring his first goal for the club three minutes later directly from a free kick, his fierce drive rocketing into the far corner. Stung by this, three minutes later Almeria turned on the gas, had a goal disallowed for offside, and as they pressed for an equalizer Elche looked ragged. An Almerian corner was flicked on by Rodriguez, but came back off the bar as Elche breathed again. Goitom’s shot hit the post as the Franjiverdes weathered the storm to go in 1 – 0 at half time.
Santos, who by his own brilliant standards had had a quiet first half was replaced for the second half by the promising Juli, and Acciari by Usero. On the hour Elche’s new striking hope Molina came on for Perera, who had done well. Calderon replaced Saul who worryingly limped off injured , he has apparently aggravated his shoulder again that he injured at the end of last season.
Caballero’s goal seemed to have a charmed life as Piatti’s volley hit the top of the bar, but on sixty-one minutes, just as against Tenerife Juli put Molina through to score, which he did with aplomb, new boys Calderon and Javi Lara involved in the build up.
The impressive Molina has now scored in both his first two games, a very impressive start, although he blazed over on seventy-seven minutes with a clear cut chance.
In a carbon copy of Elche’s first goal, Soriano for Almeria scored five minutes later directly from a free kick in almost the same position. 2 – 1 now, would Elche be hanging on for the final eight minutes, as Almeria went for the equalizer ? Well, to their credit, no, not this new Elche didn’t waver, and to their credit the Illicitanos continued to press, ultimately having a shot kicked off the line with two minutes to go.
Captain Willy Caballero and Raul Fuster collected the magnificent Dama d’ Elx replica trophy as the reward for winning this match, and managed with some difficulty to carry it down on to the pitch where the players celebrated. Two wins out of two against top opposition tells its own story !
This season looks fascinating for this whole area, with Elche, Hercules, Murcia, Cartagena, Levante, Castellon, Villareal ‘B’ and Albacete all in the same second division of Spain’s La Liga. With Elche in promising form already, it all looks very exciting for we Elchefiles for the start of the season a week on Sunday at the Martinez Valero against Huesca. If you havn’t been before, why not give it a go, the class of football is good, the stadium fantastic, and it’s very easy to find.
You hit the Elche ring road, turn right on to it, and follow your nose, you cant really miss it, and the police will help, they’ll be directing the traffic ! This season is going to be great, don’t miss it ! See you there ?
Mucho Elche !
Photos Mark Welton www.foto23.info
By John McGregor