Match Recap: Real Madrid v Elche

23 Feb

The team traveled to Elche, which is in the community of Valencia (the city that made me fall in love with Spain). Arbeloa provided us with that shot of him and his new buddy, Toni, on the way.

The team arrived a few hours before the match to the tune of more than 200 fans. And it was Iker and Fernando Pacheco that signed autographs at the team’s hotel prior to heading to the stadium.

Our pre-match tweets came from some of the usual suspects but also from a couple of people we don’t often hear from before matches.

Benzema posted his usual selfie iPhone background and also acknowledged that this was Iker’s 500th La Liga match.

Illara added to his excitement about today’s match by mentioning the basketball team’s match against Barcelona for Copa del Rey (a separate post on that is coming).

We also got Jese

Kroos’ cheesy photoshop job

A Varane selfie (which I love)

And Paul Clement informed us that he loves Elche’s stadium

We were granted a bit of a breather going in when Barcelona lost against Malaga on Saturday. We all hoped to pull out a win anyway but pulling out the win would now give us a bigger cushion at the top of the table.

Lineups:

Elche: Przemyslaw Tyton; Damian Suarez, Enzo Roco, David Lomban, Edu Albacar; Aaron Niguez, Mario Pasalic, Adrian Gonzalez, Victor Rodriguez; Fayçal Fajr; Jonathas

Real Madrid: Iker Casillas; Dani Carvajal, Pepe, Raphael Varane, Marcelo; Lucas Silva, Toni Kroos, Isco; Gareth Bale, Karim Benzema, Cristiano Ronaldo

Real Madrid starters

In addition to it being Iker’s 500th match with Real Madrid, it was Ancelotti’s 100th match with the club. How did all of our men get so impressive?!

Just out of curiosity, does anyone else think that Lucas Silva looks like Keanu Reeves and Sergio had a love child?

A minute of silence was held prior to the match for Miguel Angel Carrilero, who was 21 years old and played for Elche reserves. He died suddenly last week. My heart goes out to his family and his Elche family.

Following the moment of silence, it was our Blancos in their camisetas negras got the match kicked off.

It didn’t take long for us to get going and in the 4th minute Bale had the ball in the back of the net but he was ruled offside. It was the first of many questionable offsides calls. Shortly after, Cris hit the post with a beautiful shot from the top of the box.

In the 6th minute, Damian Suarez basically ripped War Kitten’s shirt off but the ref was apparently under the impression that’s allowed to happen. Nothing was given.

Suarez tries to take Benzema's shirt off

We looked good. We were pressing forward, connecting passes. And in the 11th minute, Tyton stopped a close range shot from Gareth, who was called offside again.

Both Gareth and Cris were getting hacked down all over the place but this ref must have been used to prison riots or something.

We had a lot of chances glance across the face of goal. And Cris met a fabulous cross from Gareth but the volley was over the crossbar. As lurker watishista FABOD told me, Cris wanted it. He wanted it bad.

The first card of the match was given to Albacar for a bad challenge on Bale. Jeremy Renner Kroos took the freekick. Cris got some serious hangtime and met the kick with his head but it dropped just wide of the post.

Jonathas was causing us a few problems, in addition to a few bad challenges. He caught Toni’s face with his arm, then Varane stayed down after getting tangled with him. I panicked a little bit at first, but The Baby got up and was okay.

There was no real urgent action from either side again until about the 38th minute when Bale tried to break down the wing but he was stopped by Albacar.

The second booking of the match came in the 38th minute as well. This time it was Marcelo getting booked for a handball.

In the 40th minute I would have dropped my glass of water if I hadn’t just put it down. The ball was in the back of the net with an absolutely stunning bicycle kick from Benzema. Unfortunately, the ref called him offside again. It was questionable, again.

I wish that goal had stood. I want that for Benzema. He doesn’t try for the spectacular very often and he executed that so perfectly.

Jonathas earned a yellow card in the 41st minute for swinging his arm yet again.

Pasalic had a shot in the 44th minute but it was wide and, after only 1 minute of extra time, the half ended with neither side having scored a goal. It was a big old sigh from me.

Second Half:

Neither team made any changes at the half.

It was Elche that had the first chance of the half. Victor found himself with a bunch of space in the 48th minute and struck the ball low toward goal. San Iker was there to push it wide. Glory! Glory! Hallelujah! I couldn’t handle them scoring on us first.

In the 52nd minute, Aaron slid in ATROCIOUSLY on Gareth. Remember I’ve been bitching about the ref? Well, this incident should have been a straight red card. No question. I’ve seen WAY less earn straight reds. But Aaron came away with only a yellow. And we were lucky that Gareth stood back up.

That is, absolutely, a leg breaking tackle. I can’t imagine if his foot had been planted or if Aaron had come in just a little higher. Just a devastating thought.

Kroos took the freekick but Elche got to it first. Isco sent it back in, but his shot was just wide.

Our first goal finally came in the 56th minute. It was a bit unfortunate for Elche but lucky for us. And really it was coming. War Kitten tapped in a bit of a mess up from close range and we had our goal!

I LOVE BENZE-GOALS!

Following the goal we just kept pressing. Poor Elche couldn’t do much, but we just couldn’t seem to find the mouth of the goal.

In the 64th minute, Elche made their first substitution to bring in Rodrigues for Aaron.

We had a penalty shout in the 65th minute. In fact, I’ve seen that given before. Pasalic was the Elche player that handled in the box. And when Bale took a shot just moments later, it curled wide.

In the 68th minute, Bale crossed it in for Cris but he couldn’t keep it down and it went over the net. No worries though! Not long after Cris had his goal.

Isco worked the ball to the end line and crossed it over for Cris. Of course he is a master at those long range headers and he rose up and headed that ball to its home.

Nice to have him scoring those again, huh?

In the 72nd minute another Elche player earned a yellow. This time it was Roco for shouldering Cris off the ball just outside the box. It was Cris that took the freekick and he hit low, under the wall. At first I thought it was in, but it was just wide. GRRRR!

Elche brought in Galvez for Pasalic in the 75th minute for their second sub.

Kroos had a near chance that went high just before Elche made their final sub. It was Herrera that replaced Adrian. Ancelotti was REALLY pushing Wenger Time in this match. Still no subs used for us.

In the 83rd minute, Rodrigues attempted to push through the center of our defense but in the end Pepe saved us and Rodrigues was called for a handball.

Ancelotti finally used our first sub in the 84th minute. Illara replaced Keanu Ramos Silva.

In the 86th minute, Iker gave me a heart attack. He took a backpass but took too long to send it back out and was almost caught. I think I fell over onto the floor.

In the 88th minute when Arbeloa replaced Isco. The Elche fans got to their feet, recognizing the future of the Spanish midfield. It. Was. Beautiful.

The ref indicated there would be three minutes of added time and in the first of them, Cris picked out Gareth with a cross but our headbanded Welshman couldn’t quite get a boot on it.

Ancelotti chose to make our final sub just about 30 seconds before the ref blew the whistle. Jese got to step onto the pitch in place of Benzema.

That was it, we got our 2-0 win and Casillas got his win in his 300th match for Real Madrid. It was also the first time he had ever faced Elche. The win also came in Ancelotti’s 100th match with us and Carvajal’s 50th.

Match Photos:

Post-Match Comments:

Ancelotti post match

Ancelotti:

“The team understood that this was an important match”, he added.

Carlo Ancelotti showed his satisfaction after the win against Elche that extended the team’s lead at the top of the table: “It was important match given what happened yesterday and has enabled us to pull further away from Barcelona. We did well in every aspect of the game and played very well. We this kind of attitude we are going to win a lot of games”.

“The team really understood that this was an important match and everyone worked really hard. The team are improved bit by bit and we are also coming along in terms of fitness. We have to continue like this. I didn’t have any doubts about the team because they also played extremely well in the first half. We controlled the game”.

His team’s improvement
“It is pretty clear for all to see that following the defeat to Atlético we have now gone three games without conceding. That means the team are defending well. We didn’t give our opponents many opportunities either today or on Wednesday”.

His 100 games in charge
“We have done well and now we have to try to improve for the next 100”.

“Elche are a quality side but we defended very well and didn’t give them a chance to hit us on the break. They have quality and are organised and enthusiast. They have enough quality to stay up”.

Isco’s performance
“He is playing extremely well from one match to the next and is showing a lot of quality and intensity. It is hard to know if he will play when everyone is available. I’ll make that decision when the time comes”.

Jesé’s substitution
“The change was scheduled to happen three minutes earlier but the ball didn’t go out and Jesé had to go on with just 25 seconds to go”.

Barcelona’s defeat
“It surprised me because they were enjoying a very good run of form. We have an advantage but this league will be decided on the last matchday”.

Casillas post match

Casillas:

“We have got back to where we wanted to be thanks to hard work and results”.

Iker Casillas made his 500th La Liga appearance at the Martínez Valero stadium. The captain of the Whites, who has won five league titles, overtook Raúl and is now the Madrid player with the most wins in the history of the competition. He has notched up 328 and is only five away from equalling Zubizarreta as the footballer with the most wins in the league.

“We are on the right path. Football changes! A few weeks ago there was a flood of criticism and now everything seems to be calmer. The team did not fall apart following the fiasco at the Calderón and we have got back to where we wanted to be thanks to hard work and results”.

His statistics with Real Madrid
“I am very grateful. At Real Madrid it is feasible to obtain these figures, at another club it would have been difficult. I am happy to increase my tally of games here and I hope to add many more matches. Raúl is a legendary player at Real Madrid, and he had some outrageously good statistics”.

The next few games
“Now we have a difficult schedule against Villarreal and Athletic. We are taking it one step at a time. We are going to approach the Villarreal game as if it was a final”.

“Teams always have high and low moments during a season. This team comes together more during the bad times and you can see that out on the pitch. We have done well over the last few matches”.

Praise for Isco
“We are talking about the next most important player to come out of this country. He is an extremely nice young guy and we should not distract him. Praise can weaken people quite a lot but those around him and look after him and protect him”.

The captain’s statistics
Casillas ranks seventh in terms of most La Liga appearances. Now in his 16th season, he played all possible games in the 2002/03, 2006/07, 2008/09 and 2009/10 seasons and only missed one game during the 2003/04, 2004/05, 2005/06 and 2011/12 campaigns.

He has the second highest number of appearances for Madrid
With his first official game against Elche, Casillas has now made 710 appearances in goal for the Whites. With this figure, he equals Sanchís, another club legend, in terms of games played for the Whites. Only Raúl who finished his career with 741 games is ahead of them.

Isco post match

Isco:

Isco participated in the Madrid win against Elche and he showed his delight with the team’s performance after the game: “I am very happy, we had a good game. We put on pressure from the beginning and even more in the second half. We got three important points”.

“There are a lot of games left, we have done our job and we are going to keep on moving forwards. Málaga helped us and we could not let this opportunity go to waste. It was a very complete game from all of the team, I am very happy with the performance today and we go home happy to Madrid”.

His progress
“I have always believed in myself. I have made some important progress in terms of robbing the ball. I am delighted that this helps the team and I want to carry on like that. I am aware that I need to work on defence in order to have a place in the team. This is an important step for me towards becoming a more complete player”. 

“It is always a proud moment to hear people chanting your name, I am grateful for the affection people show. I am taking things one step at a time, trying to work as just another team member in each game, and helping out as best as possible, that is the important part”.

Benzema:

“We created a lot of chances and we deserved to win” 
“We all defend and attack together. We created a lot of chances and we deserved to win. The important thing was getting three points. Elche played well but we were better. Isco is young, he is a great player for Real Madrid and he is enjoying good form at the moment”.

Social Media Corner:

I’m starting with my favorite bit of social media. It was a tweet from Guti that actually came during the match. He was full of praise for Isco as he was given a rest.

I’m enjoying Iker on Twitter. He’s just kind of there but I still enjoy it. 328 wins for the same team. Wow.

Gareth is going to provide us with a post-match photo someday. I’m still waiting. Until then, I’ll also be buzzing with the win.

I think Arbeloa has some sweet Photoshop skills. He added a congrats to the basketball team for their Copa del Rey win.

Karim. Karim, Karim, Karim. War Kitten is really responding to the haters, no? Three precious points…

And Boring Toni Kroos is almost as good as Boring James Milner.

Our next match is Sunday at home against Villareal.

¡Hala Madrid!

-mygypsyspirit

(images and gifs courtesy of GF Sports, the-vip-football-collection, football-hqs, and realmadrid.com)

One Response to “Match Recap: Real Madrid v Elche”

  1. FABOD February 24, 2015 at 9:00 am #

    I told you he wanted it

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: