Elche and Celta tied and the former knew the point better than the latter. Although it may seem that locals always yearn for more. Send the classification. Even at the dawn of the season no one wants to be down. Celta can finish the day in relegation position if Levante and Huesca win their matches. They have barely won one of their last 16 league games, the one that played against Valencia on the second day of the current campaign.
The game was excellent and demanding. High pressure and search for solutions, with vibrant passages and goal options for both. Celta had barely touched the ball when he was forced to defend a seemingly innocuous cross into the box. The two forwards of Elche launched the ball, Pere Milla touched it while his teammate Lucas Boyé wove a Chilean attempt. In between was the reappeared Hugo Mallo, absent after a few weeks injured and after a schism with his coach that cost him the captain’s armband. No one had seen it live, no one claimed it. Peró sounded the alarm in the VAR and it all ended at the penalty spot. It did not matter much that Boyé’s foot brushed against Mallo’s head, who protected himself in the jump and found, accidentally and involuntarily, the ball with his arm. Someone, in an office, has reinvented the spirit of the norm and creates highly debatable situations. Fidel did not hesitate from eleven meters and put Elche ahead.
The arbitration regulations have never been as alive as in recent times. The last championship began with a pattern: the stomping on the opponent’s Achilles tendon was not only a fault, but also involved expulsion. This is how Modric went to the booth in the match that opened that League in Balaídos. Then the punishment was qualified so that it ended in a warning. One year and three months later an identical action took place in Elche, and in the Celta area. No penalty was awarded. It happened four minutes after the local team’s goal, in a clash between Murillo and Verdú. Celta was on his nerves, with one of the coach’s assistants in the dugout after several shouts and reproaches.
It took Celta to warm up. Surely he succeeded because his coach had grouped enough players in the eleven. Denis Suárez and Brais Méndez evolved on the inside, a detail that results in the lucidity with which the ball moves. Santi Mina, Iago Aspas and Nolito appeared on the three attack lanes. Elche also had to endure them in the pressure and although he never turned his face to the game, with resources to solve those problems, he began to feel uncomfortable.
Celta squeezed a stone in the shoe, the classification. So behind on the scoreboard and against a rival who is fighting to save the category, there was only room for reaction. He gathered passes in the opposite field and found spaces where there seemed to be none because Elche knew how to join. Brais Méndez found them after two brilliant passes signed by Aspas and Denis. But in the definition he opted for silk when the situation surely required another type of suit. Because in hand-to-hand was Edgar Badía, an excellent goalkeeper in that luck.
Celta is the team with the worst percentage of success against the rival frame (it pockets 5% of the opportunities it generates). And those new errors fueled their urgencies. Elche then had its moment. Lucas Boyé was able to score in full uncovered behind Celta, where Murillo was too soft in the duels. Touched by his misfortune, Celta found the prize when he played fewer tickets. Santi Mina scored at the edge of the break after an intelligent action by Aspas, who pivoted between centers to open a space for his teammate’s good shot.
Parity was not only appreciated on the scoreboard. The game leveled off. But the party did not fall either. Elche, the last team to reach the category and also unexpectedly, has built a solvent team, full of expert footballers. The Argentine reinforcements have hierarchy and kilometers of filming. There Marcone emerges, a praetorian of coach Jorge Almirón, with whom he was champion four years ago with no less than Lanús. A cacique in the core.
Elche well armed, the passing of the minutes seemed to deactivate Celta’s ambition. But when Iago Aspas is involved, and there is a game to win, nothing is finished. Nothing stopped in a game that was pleasant to watch and that ended in a frenzied head or cross in which Tete Morente was able to score the winning goal and goalkeeper Edgar Badía did not stop asking for medical assistance, injured when his team had already exhausted all your changes. The game ended badly or well.
Only the ailments of the local goalkeeper stopped the frenzy. Celta asked for the expulsion of Lucas Boyé after a clash with Brais Méndez in which the Galician ended up with a bloody cheekbone. Óscar García’s team did not stop feeling aggrieved with a referee (De Burgos) with whom he already had old disputes. Between protests and disappointments, he went to the booth with a touch of bitterness.