The first half saw the battle of all battles in midfield as high flying Villarreal took on a lower table Elche. Villarreal’s lineup was on the lighter side with key players missing through Covid and the African Cup of Nations. It was clear that Elche high line would bring out the slowness of the duo of Capoue and Parejo. Villarreal’s key man Manu Trigueros was missing in the midfield to provide that creative spark.
The game came alive in the 78th minute. The first and only goal came in the 78th minute although neither side could claim they were the stronger side of the match. Despite 4 defenders on him Lucas Boye managed to keep hold of the ball. From outside the box, he launched a shot towards the goal. Rulli got a touch but not enough to keep the ball out of the net 1-0
80th minute came Villarreal only real chance of the match. Mario Gaspar was brought on to provide an attacking option on the right-hand side. He sent a curling cross into the box. The ball was pushed out into the air. Pino launched a powerful header towards the goal which the keeper managed to keep out to keep it 1-0
Elche quickly countered with Gerard Gumbau attacking the Villarreal goal. Set up by Carrillo he sent a left-footed lob from outside the box. Gumbau was trying to replicate Correa world-class lob against Rulli last week to no avail.
The match was a scrappy regional derby with tackles and cards flying everywhere. In the final minutes of the match, a fight broke which summed up the entire match which will not be remembered fondly by Villarreal fans.