Feb 2, 2014 at 11am UK at ​Martinez Valero
ElcheElche
1-0
Almeria
Marquez (58')
Marquez (49'), Albacar (72'), Perez (77'), Suarez (85')
Suarez (90')
FT(HT: 0-0)

Suso (24'), Azeez (40'), Torsiglieri (82')

Live Commentary: Elche 1-0 Almeria - as it happened

Live Commentary: Elche 1-0 Almeria - as it happened
© Getty Images
Relive Sports Mole's commentary of the La Liga clash at the Estadio Manuel Martinez Valero where Elche beat Almeria 1-0.

Sunday's opening La Liga clash pitted Elche against Almeria at the Estadio Manuel Martinez Valero.

Elche dominated the first period, but had to wait until just before the hour mark to take the lead through Javi Marquez.

The home side ended with 10 men as Damian Suarez was handed his marching orders late on, but the visitors could not respond.

Read how it all unfolded in Sports Mole's minute-by-minute live commentary of the action below.


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10.31amMorning all! Our La Liga coverage for the day opens from the Estadio Manuel Martinez Valero as Elche welcome Almeria. The home side currently sit 17th in the table on 21 points, while Almeria are just one point and one place above of their opponents. There is no question that this match is crucial as both attempt to fight off a relegation battle.

10.34amAs mentioned, the last time the pair met in this stadium was in December 2012, where Elche collected all the points with a 1-0 win. The last two matches between the two sides have been at Almeria, with the home side wining 2-1 in May 2013, but the points were shared in a 2-2 draw earlier this season.

10.37amTEAMS:

ELCHE: Tono; Damian, Botia, Lomban, Albacar; Perez, Marquez; Carles, Coro, Del Moral; Herrera

ALMERIA: Esteban; Rafita, Trujillo, Torsiglieri, Mane; Azeez, Tebar, Verza; Suso, Vidal, Jonathan


10.40amSo there we have it. Cristian Herrera will lead the line for the home side this afternoon, with Richmond Boakye named on the bench. Manu del Moral also starts for Elche. Almeria, meanwhile, leave Helder Barbosa and Bruno Soriano on their bench. However, Jonathan Zongo and Suso are both in the XI.

10.43amElche enter the match off the back of a 4-0 defeat to Real Sociedad last weekend, with that result leaving them in 17th position on 21 points. They are just one point outside of the bottom three, but just seven points from the top eight, which is a demonstration of the closeness in La Liga. It promises to be a fascinating conclusion to the campaign.

10.46amThree of Elche’s five league wins this season have come on their own patch, but they have lost five times in this stadium. On the road, they have won twice, losing five times in the process. In truth, they are one of around nine teams realistically fighting relegation this season. I have a feeling that there could be a surprise name in the bottom three come May 2014.

10.49amGoals have been a problem for Elche this season with just 19 goals in their 21 matches, which is just one more than Real Betis, who are bottom. Almeria, meanwhile, have netted just 22 times. Down the other end, Elche have conceded 32 times to Almeria’s 40. The statistics point to a close-fought match, which would not be a surprise.

10.52amAlmeria enter the match off the back of a vital 1-0 win over Getafe last weekend. That result moved them into 16th position in the table, but they are just two points outside of the relegation zone. A disastrous start saw them fail to win in their first 10 games, but they have registered six victories since then. One thing is for certain, they will have a wonderful pitch to play on this afternoon...



10.55amThree of Almeria’s six league wins this season have come on their own patch, where they have lost four times this season. On the road, they have lost seven of their 11 matches, conceding 25 times in the process, which is one of the worst records in the league. In this stadium, however, they have conceded 15 times in their 10 matches.

10.58amPREDICTION: In many ways, this is the most fascinating La Liga fixture of Week 22. There is no question that both sides are in a relegation battle and in desperate need of the points. I am going to sit on the fence for this particular match and back a 1-1 draw. I am not sure if either has enough to win it.

1 minHere we go then. Both sets of players join us on the pitch for the first period. The pre-match handshakes have been undertaken and the flags have been exchanged. Let's hope for an entertaining fixture at the Estadio Manuel Martinez Valero as morning becomes afternoon in Spain. Elche get the action underway.

2 minIt must be said that there is a wonderful atmosphere inside the stadium this afternoon. You just get the feeling that the first goal - if there indeed is one - could be decisive. End-to-end football in the opening couple of minutes, but no real chances thus far.

4 minIt has been a busy four minutes for the referee with a number of late challenges occurring in the middle of the park. Elche have just started to force the issue with a series of passes in the Almeria half, but the latest attack breaks down when Herrera fails to collect a through pass from Gil.

6 minIt's bright work from Suso as the on-loan Liverpool winger drives into the Elche box, but Suarez is across to clear at the vital moment. The home side immediately break with Manu, but eventually Elche are forced to retreat in order to keep possession.

8 minCHANCE! Elche have the opportunity to threaten from a free kick as Gil is felled outside the box by Verza. The resulting set piece is taken by Edu, but Manu can only clip wide from inside the box. That is the closest either side has come in the opening eight minutes at the Estadio Manuel Martinez Valero.

11 minHandbags between both sets of players in the middle of the park following a late challenge between Azeez and Marquez, but the referee is on hand to calm proceedings. Plenty happening in the middle of the park as the intensity remains high, but clear chances have been at a premium thus far.

13 minHalf-chance for Almeria as Suso stands over a free kick down the right, but the referee is on hand to award a foul following a clash inside the box. The match continues to flow from end-to-end as Gil breaks for Elche, but the Spaniard cannot release a strike under pressure from Mane.

15 minCHANCE! Wonderful chance for the home side to open the scoring as Herrera breaks beyond the Almeria defence, but the Spaniard can only strike his effort straight at Esteban, who has been the busier of the two goalkeepers in the opening 15 minutes. Still goalless, but plenty of intent.

17 minElche continue to force the issue with two corners in quick succession, but Mane and Verza take it in turns to clear the danger. There is no question that the home side are the team on the front foot, but Almeria continue to carry a threat on the counter attack.

20 minHalf-chance for the home side as Gil collects possession outside the box before attempting to find the top corner, but his effort was always moving high and wide of the crossbar. Not too much for the away supporters to get excited about in the last few moments as Elche continue to dominate possession of the ball on this warm afternoon.

22 minYou just get the feeling that Elche need to find the back of the net during this dominant spell. They have had the better chances, but Almeria continue to carry a threat on the counter. The noise is deafening inside the stadium, which is adding to the intensity, especially in the middle of the park.

24 minThe referee has been more involved than he would have liked in the last couple of moments and is forced to issue a yellow card to Suso following a late challenge on Elche's Marquez. The resulting free kick is delivered by Edu, but it bounces into the arms of Esteban following a period of pin-ball inside the box.

27 minAlmeria are ahead of Elche in the table, but the home side continue to look the more inventive in the final third. A rare counter arrives for Almeria as Vidal feeds Zongo, but the forward cannot beat Tono to the ball. As it stands, Elche have had 72% of the ball.

29 minIn truth, it is not too difficult to see why both of these sides are struggling this season. Both play incisive football in the middle of the park, but it continues to break down in the final third. You just get the feeling that the first goal - if there indeed is one - could be vital this afternoon.

31 minBotia takes matters into his own hands for the home side as he dances past two challenges before attempting to test Esteban, but his effort was always moving wide of the post. The hosts threaten moments later with Manu, but his cross is straight into the arms of Tono.

33 minCHANCE! Oh my word what a chance! Elche come within a whisker of taking the lead as Lomban meets a corner from Suarez, but somehow he fires his header over the crossbar from close range. Little over 10 minutes of the first period remaining.

35 minAlmeria simply cannot keep the ball at the moment. Well, they have struggled in the opening 35 minutes. Zongo is doing his best to cause problems in the final third, but the forward has been left isolated. The atmosphere remains intense as the first period continues to gather pace at the Estadio Manuel Martinez Valero.

38 minAlmeria have been much-improved in the last few minutes, but they are still struggling to create in the final third. It is the type of match that could be won by the single goal. Herrera threatens for Elche with a mazy run into the box, but Mane is across to clear the danger.

40 minThe free-kick count continues to rise in the latter stages of the first period as Azeez fells Suarez and picks up a yellow card in the process. Edu strikes the resulting set piece on goal, but Esteban is on hand to make a fine save. Little over five minutes of the first period remaining. Still goalless.

43 minElche continue to force the issue with two corners in quick succession, but Mane and Verza take it in turns to clear the danger. Manu delivers another dangerous cross towards Herrera moments later, but Vidal is on hand to perform yet more defensive work.

45 minCHANCE! Almeria's best chance of the half arrives in the final minute as Verza finds some space outside the box before striking on goal, but Tono is on hand to make a really smart save at his near post.

45+1 minHALF TIME: Elche 0-0 Almeria

11.48amSo there we have it. The referee brings the first period to an end with the two sides level at 0-0. Elche have dominated proceedings and indeed had the better chances, but have thus far been unable to break the deadlock. It is delicately poised ahead of the second period.

11.53amSTATISTICS: Elche have dominated the possession with 66%, while they have had five attempts to Almeria's one. As it stands, both sides would move up one place in the table with Almeria in 15th position and Elche in 16th.

11.58amBENCH WATCH: The home side have a number of attacking options on their bench this afternoon in the shape of Boakye, Mantecon and Fidel. Meanwhile, Almeria have the likes of Diaz, Barbosa and Soriano in reserve. There are certainly goals in that list of players.

46 minHere we go then. Both sets of players join us on the pitch for the second period. Just a reminder that we have all four La Liga games covered this afternoon/evening - be sure to remain with us. Right, the away side get the second period underway.

48 minNo changes for either side at the interval, which is not much of a surprise at this stage of proceedings. However, I expect changes to occur if the score remains level for the next 20 minutes or so. Can Elche make their first-half pressure count? Or will Almeria start to force the issue? Manu has the first half-chance of the half, but the Elche forward fires just wide from inside the box.

50 minHalf-chance for Almeria as Zongo finds some space outside the box before attempting to test Tono, but his effort was always moving wide of the post. Elche break down the other end with Coro moments later, but his low cross is cleared by Mane.

53 minCHANCE! Wonderful chance for Zongo as the Almeria forward arrives unmarked at the far post from a corner, but his effort is high and wide of the crossbar. Much better from the visitors in the early stages of the second period, but still the score remains level. Moments later, Manu drives a low effort wide of Esteban's post.

55 minIt is certainly more of an even contest in the second half with Almeria prepared to commit numbers in the final third. That is leaving space for Elche to exploit, but their final ball has not been on-point since the interval. Little over 35 minutes of this La Liga clash remaining. Still goalless.

57 minCHANCE! Another opportunity for the home side as Marquez meets a bouncing ball on the edge of the box, but his effort is drilled into the arms of Esteban. Almeria break immediately down the other end, but Zongo loses possession at the vital moment.

58 minThe opportunities continue to arrive at either end as Suso strikes one from outside the box, but his effort was always moving wide of the post. We are getting to the stage of the match where both managers will be considering changes. Little over 30 minutes remaining.

58 minGOAL! Elche 1-0 Almeria (Marquez)

59 minFinally the deadlock is broken and the goal comes for the home side as Marquez's long-range effort is deflected into the back of the net. Elche lead 1-0 at the Estadio Manuel Martinez Valero.

61 minIn truth, it is no more than Elche deserve. Almeria have improved in the second period, but the home side have dominated proceedings for long periods. That said, Almeria still have 30 minutes to turn this match around. It is delicately poised in this relegation clash.

64 minThe home side continue to force the issue with two corners in quick succession, but Mane and Rafita take it in turns to clear the danger. Elche seem intent on putting this game to bed, with Almeria simply unable to keep the ball. The away side appear to be preparing two changes.

66 minJust the one change for Almeria as Bruno Soriano replaces Tebar, who has struggled to influence proceedings this evening. Soriano is immediately involved for Almeria, but his low cross is cleared.

68 minThe visitors make their second change in quick succession as Barbosa replaces Suso. That change immediately brings a half-chance for the away side, but Vidal fires his effort wide of the post following a short corner. End-to-end football with little over 20 minutes of football remaining.

70 minAnother half-chance for Almeria as Zongo meets a cross from Soriano, but his header just drops wide of the post. Elche make their first change moments later as on-loan Sevilla forward Manu del Moral is replaced by Fidel, who will just sure up the midfield in the latter stages.

73 minIt must be said that the atmosphere inside the stadium is just stunning. That is not always the case in La Liga, but that is indeed the case this afternoon. You just get the feeling that we have not seen the last of the goals as both sides continue to commit numbers in the final third.

75 minRight, little over 15 minutes of football remaining and Elche lead Almeria 1-0. In terms of the league table, that would move the home side into 15th position in the table, while Almeria would drop to 17th. It is just so close in the bottom half of the table as the second half of the season continues to gather pace.

77 minThe referee has been more involved than he would have liked in the last few moments due to a number of late challenges. Moments later, Elche make their second change of the match with Botia leaving the field for Pelegrin. Almeria also make their third and final sub with Diaz replacing Vidal.

80 minCHANCE! Wonderful chance for Almeria as Zongo finds himself all alone inside the Elche box before attempting to direct a header into the bottom corner, but Tono is on hand to make the save. The away side have had chances in the second period there is no question about that.

82 minNot too much to report in terms of clear chances in the last couple of moments with Elche taking control of the possession. Meanwhile, a series of late challenges have further slowed the tempo. That is not what Almeria want at this stage of proceedings.

84 minZongo remains the main target for the away side as crosses continue to find the powerful forward, but Elche have been compact in defence this afternoon. Moments later, the home side make their third and final change as Carlos Sanchez enters the field in place of Herrera.

87 minGood pressure from Almeria in the last couple of moments as they continue to deliver crosses into the Elche box, but it just will not fall for a red shirt. Time is running out with little over three minutes of normal time remaining at the Estadio Manuel Martinez Valero.

89 minThe referee has been more involved than he would have liked in the last couple of moments due to a number of late challenges in the middle of the park. Time is running out for Almeria as the home side continue to slow the tempo in the middle of the park. I shouldn't think that there will be too much added time at the end of the 90 minutes.

90 minRED CARD! Suarez (Elche)

90+1 minElche are reduced to 10 men as Suarez picks up his second yellow card for a late challenge on Barbosa. It was a needless lunge from the defender. Could it cost his side?

90+3 minWe are into the third of four additional minutes in this La Liga clash. Almeria continue to deliver deep crosses into the Elche box, but Zongo is denied once more after Tono had missed a cross from Barbosa. Little over one minute of injury time remaining.

90+5 minAnother stoppage in play occurs as Marquez receives some treatment for the home side, but the midfielder is fit to continue. Almeria just cannot get the ball in the latter stages as Elche close in on a vital three points.

90+5 minFULL TIME: Elche 1-0 Almeria

12.54pmSo there we have it. The referee brings the match to an end with Elche claiming all three points with a 1-0 win. Thanks for joining Sports Mole for the action and be sure to join us again later for more La Liga football. Until then!

Atletico Madrid's Diego Costa celebrates after scoring his team's second goal against Almeria on September 14, 2013
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