Rodrigues gets the goal that should secure Elche's top flight status

Prior to the start of this season, not since the fall of the Berlin Wall had Elche hosted a La Liga Football match, but on Saturday evening at La Rosaleda, on loan Garry Rodrigues’ long range strike secured the win that should secure their top tier status again next season.

Rodrigues struck after just 11 minutes to secure three much-needed points for Fran Escriba’s side in their attempt to beat relegation in their first season back in the top flight, but were made to fight all the way as Alberto Botia’s late red card saw them play out the final minutes with 10 men.

The home side got off to a strong start and could have taken the lead with Darder’s long-range effort but Elche came back with a chance of their own moments later.

On-loan winger Rodrigues then handed Elche the lead with his first goal of the season as he fired home from the right channel to put Elche in front. Roque Santa Cruz came close to netting an equaliser midway through the first half but his curled effort from just outside the 18-yard box was tipped around the post by Manu Herrera.

The visiting goalkeeper was also quick to keep out Vitorino Antunes’ fantastic effort minutes later as Malaga piled on the pressure going to the interval. Elche striker Richmond Boakye was replaced five minutes after the break due to injury and Malaga lost both Nacho Camacho and Jesus Gamez within eight minutes of each other after they too sustained knocks.

In a dull second period home goalkeeper, and former Elche favourite, Willy Caballero, did well to keep out Javi Marquez’s powerful header as the visitors looked to add a second and then Sergi Darder was unfortunate not to equalise with 10 minutes left as his brilliant long-range curled effort was caught by the ever-ready Herrara.

As the pressure mounted on the visitors Elche’s reserve keeper Toño was dismissed from the bench with 22 minutes remaining and then as Illicitano’s clung on to their fragile lead Botia was shown red for a professional foul on 84 minutes.

But despite the constant barrage from the home side Elche held on for all three points that will likely secure their La Liga status.


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