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Elche-Villarreal B PREVIEW (and gamethread)

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Elche CF v Villarreal CF - La Liga
Villarreal-Elche in 2013....same stadium, different players at a different level
Photo by Manuel Queimadelos Alonso/Getty Images

Villarreal B take on Elche at their Estadio Martínez Valero on Saturday with a crowd of about 20,000 expected, including three buses of Yellow Submarine supporters from Vila-real and environs.

TV: No Villarreal TV for this one, but it will be broadcast on BeinSport in Spain, and there’s always the radio—Radio Vila-real and Javi Mata (in Valencian). The kickoff is at 9:30 West Coast (US) time.

This is the last hurdle for the B team to get promoted, and it’s a tough one. The two teams were separated by only two points on the season, and Elche had a better goal difference (56-32, +24 to our 46-29 +17). And two meetings this season have produced 0-0 draws. So, this figures to be another tight one.

Elche will rely for goals primarily on three players—in order of descending age, Nino (38 years old, ex-Tenerife, Osasuna and Levante, 15 tallies), Benja (30 years old, ex-Barca B, Girona and LAs Palmas among others, 13 goals) and Sory Kaba, a 23 year-old Guinean international (11 goals).

One cloud hanging over Elche is a €4m loan from the Valencia Ministry of Finance they have been told to repay—the club has struggled financially in recent years (you remember they were tossed from the Primera for financial irregularities in 2015, allowing Eibar to remain up).

Villarreal B come into this match in pretty good spirits, with Samu Chukwedze and Manu Morlanes both signing improved contracts. Dani Raba may be the key here—when he’s on the pitch everyone plays better.

An away win would be huge, but realistically a score draw would probably be good too; Villarreal would have to feel confident going back home. Endavant Villarreal!!!