Real Betis 0 Elche CF 1
With only five matches still to play, although it is not yet mathematically certain, it is now virtually so. Only an absolute disaster would now prevent Francisco’s team from lining up in La Liga next season.
Against Real Betis, even though Elche were always on the back foot, they were much more ‘worldly wise’ in their management of the game. They knew how to play the game, and they knew how to strike at the decisive moment.
The Illicitanos were solid in defense, playing with direction, endeavour and unity. Edgar Badia, not for the first time this season, was superb in goal at key moments and in the 82nd minute , Josan, who was a thorn in the Verdiblanco’s side during the second half, put an acrobatic centre to the near post, where Tete Morente , who had also come on in the second half, stabbed the ball into the back of the net.
It was a goal that leaves the path very clear and one that rewards the good work that the Elche team has produced in recent months.
For Real Betis, however, looking to extend their unbeaten run in the league to six games, the result is anything but, giving some breathing space to Seville, Barcelona and Atlético in the race for a Champion’s League place. With only 5 games remaining Betis are now 3 points behind the illustrious trio, having played one game more.
Despite the fact that the Verdiblancos had the clearest opportunities in the first half and in most of the second, they have lacked the goal that would have made the difference, a lot of which had to do with the form of Badía in the Elche goal, who’s three excellent saves were the key.
On 82′, Tete Morente scored the winning goal for Elche while the Betis fortunes were dealt a second blow, forcing them to play the final minutes with ten men after Paul Akouokou was sent off for kicking out at Olaza.
But Betis, feel they can shake off this poor result next Saturday in the Copa del Rey final, when they will face Valencia.
Now nine points clear of relegation with five games remaining, it seems that Elche have finally secured their LaLiga status for another season?