Elche's Columbian midfielder Carlos Sanchez

Espanyol 3 Elche 1 Whereas the major half of Spain’s second city was in mourning as mighty Barcelona inexplicably lost on Saturday to lowly Valladolid, their little brothers Espanyol comfortably put Elche away in the sunshine on Sunday.

A 2 – 0 half-time lead was increased to three on the hour, with Elche grabbing a late consolation goal in the closing minutes. No captain and left back Albacar again for Elche, last week his return prompted a hugely-welcome 1 – 0 win over Celta Vigo.

Cisma deputised ably once more, otherwise the Franjiverdes were at full strength with the same team that finished against Celta, Coro returning to face his old club. But the worst start for the visitors came as early as the second minute when David Lopez opened the scoring to home delight after only two minutes . It was all over as a contest on twenty minutes when Collotto made it two, Elche vainly chasing the game from then on. When Pizzi made it three on the hour it was abundantly clear there was going to be no other result, despite Elche coach Escriba using all his options bringing on Fidel for Manu del Moral, Boakye for Christian Herrera and central defender Peligrin for the injured Botia.

In a farcical final few minutes a corner by Damian Suarez was returned by Fidel only for Fuentes to put through his own goal, to make the score a bit more repectable for the Franjiverdes. With wins by mid-table rivals Granada, third-bottom Valladolid and bottom-place Real Betis Elche should continue to be worried, with other key results not yet in. Next week at the Martinez Valero Elche entertain bottom-placed Betis, who are enjoying something of a revival lately after looking certainties for relegation earlier this season.

Their home form is OK, but away Betis haven’t won a game, conceding a massive 35 in 13 games. Shot- shy Elche, 24 goals in 27 games did win in at the Seville club 1 – 0 in October, so now the Franjiverdes have a great opportunity to take three more vitally important points in the quest to stay up in La Liga. What an achievement that would be in their first season back in the hierarchy of Spanish football – in World Cup year where Spain are the reigning champions.

Can Elche stay up with eleven games to go? Mucho Elche!

Photo: www.elchecf.es

Filed under: http://www.theleader.info/article/42909/

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