Elche, a tiny team that plays in a huge stadium, has become a bargain for its rivals in the League. Only two teams have lost to the Alicante team, almost irrelevant as bottom and practically condemned to Second, although not mathematically, for weeks. And there, in that field so generous for visitors, Valencia fished three points, their first victory since March 11, which are a bottle of oxygen for Rubén Baraja’s men, immersed in their worst season of this century.
Edgar, Tete Morente (Josan, min. 78), Gonzalo Verdú (Enzo Roco, min. 45), Bigas (Lautaro Blanco, min. 17), Clerc, Omar Mascarell, Raúl Guti (Alex Collado, min. 63), Fidel , John Chetauya, Lucas Boyé and Pere Milla (Nicolás Fernández, min. 64)
Mamardashvili, Gayá, Gabriel Paulista, Mouctar Diakhaby (Eray Cömert, min. 90), Cenk Özkacar, Foulquier, Yunus Musah (Diego López, min. 79), Andre Almeida, Nico González (Javier Guerra, min. 45), Samuel Lino (Alberto Mari, min. 71) and Cavani (Lato, min. 71)
goals 0-1 min. 18: Samuel Linen. 0-2 min. 42: Gonzalo Verdú (pp).
Referee Guillermo Cuadra Fernandez
Yellow cards Yunus Musah (min. 13), John Chetauya (min. 46), Enzo Roco (min. 61) and Clerc (min. 83)
This is not arranged for Valencia, far from it, but the team, at least, has uncorked a decisive seven-day stretch in its future with a repairing victory. The players have to keep rowing to escape relegation: Valladolid awaits on Thursday and Cádiz on Sunday, two rivals who have five and two points, respectively. What’s more, Valencia cannot get drunk with this capital victory in their salvation options because they know that it was against the weakest team in the competition.
Lino’s hunger was enough to disarm a very innocent Elche. The Brazilian, on loan from Atlético, came out from the first minute to tickle the Alicante defense. He was the sharpest striker for Pipo Baraja. He created all the danger. Lino took advantage of a ball combed by Cavani, on another day without imbalance, to score the first, and his burst ignited the play of the second, an action that was rewarded when Verdú put a cross from Gayá into his goal into the area that was looking for Cavani.
The two goals were a liberation for Valencia, which began to feel lighter, without that weight that it has carried for several weeks, the days of anguish in which it seemed impossible to score a goal -two in the last four games-. From behind, Baraja had shielded his area by building a defensive wall with three central defenders. It was necessary to cut the bleeding as soon as possible and from there try to build on offensive tasks.
His conquest does not have much more merit. Valencia found in Elche what many have found this season in Valencia: a fragile rival and prone to confusion.
Everyone from Valencia, both the pessimists and the optimists, those who remember the relegation of 1986 and those who recall Tendillo’s goal, that historic header that, in addition to snatching a League title from Real Madrid, saved the team on May 1, 1983, knew that this Sunday there was a drop in the road. His fans did not fail. Many of those who traveled to Seville just a year ago to celebrate a Cup final were waiting in front of the Martínez Valero façade waving their scarves when their team bus appeared. Nearly five thousand Valencians had gone to Elche to shelter Valencia in the simplest and most affordable game of the nine, and eight, that were ahead.
Baraja saw how the game languished in an afternoon more at the beach than at football and took the opportunity to bring in the youngsters to rest the mainstays of this team that, despite the victory, continues in one of the relegation places.
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