If for Elche any game is an exercise in survival, a scene of James Bond fighting at the top of a cable car, Anoeta’s was even more so from minute 11, when an apparently fortuitous play was resolved with the expulsion of Raúl Guti, who ended up stepping on Gorosabel’s ankle, and in which the Real player was lucky that his ligaments held to the limit of rupture. Fran Escribá’s team was left with one less, and from that moment on, the fight on the cable car became the most difficult yet: outnumbered and with their hands tied.
La Real, who had already come out convinced that they had to besiege Elche when the line-ups were intact and who had enjoyed a first opportunity in a career of Oyarzabal to which the Elche defenders made him a hall of honor, redoubled their offense, opened the game to the bands and boxed his rival inside the area.
But because of those things that happen in football, the first half fell into a ball for Real. The ball flowed fluidly to the edge of the area, but the game was seizing in the decisive rectangle, perhaps because of the forest of legs in the 665 square meters of garden, almost as many as can be counted in a barbecue in the mansion of Messi.
For a quarter of David Silva’s thigh, Real wasted its opportunity to get ahead on the scoreboard, because the ball that Monreal finished off after a rebound ended up in the net, but the lines that the VAR writes straight with crooked lines caught what the eye human can not see, the offside of the canary.
The siege went from the screen to a higher level and began to recall the great sieges of history: Numantia, Masada, Troy, Constantinople, Monte Cassino. All of them mixed, but with blank bullets and arrows with a suction cup instead of a point, like a toy.
La Real had a lot of presence in the Elche area, but little effectiveness and little auction, even in a few minutes Imanol’s team lost patience, and as if they were playing desperately, although they did not need it, they began to bombard the goal of Gazzaniga with distant shots that flew over the crossbar.
The second part was similar, with a Real without expertise in the use of the corkscrew, and an Elche putting patches on the life preserver, which lost air as the minutes passed. The San Sebastian team could not arrive in combinations, and it had to be in a set piece action that they managed to undo the mess. Januzaj took out from the left and Aritz finished off – to me the squad that ran them over – arriving with force from behind.
Elche had endured as long as he could, 72 minutes, but he did not give him more. He wanted to turn over on the Real area, but it did not come with his game. The second goal for Real, which Oyarzabal scored from the edge of the area with his exquisite left foot, was an anecdote, and what usually happens when the blanket that Tim, the Brazilian coach who led Peru, fell short of both sides.