Winless in La Liga after 18 games – only the fourth team ever to be in this position – Elche were immediately beleaguered by an Osasuna side in the hunt for a European spot. It took the visitors just 20 minutes to break the deadlock, thanks to an absolutely sumptuous header by Ezequiel Ávila following Kike Barja’s pinpoint delivery, taking his tally to seven goals this campaign.
Subjected to a very familiar feeling of falling behind, Los Franjiverdes struggled to escape Osasuna’s clutches as the minutes rolled by, coming inches away from conceding a second, but Diego Moreno’s low cross failed to connect with any of his teammates. Despite the Elche faithful pushing their side for an equaliser under the Valencian sunshine, the hosts proved rather toothless in the final third going into the break.
An uncharacteristic start to the second period saw Pablo Machin’s men mount pressure on Los Rojillos, but back-to-back half-chances were squandered in the face of the shaky visiting defence. The hosts’ resilience finally paid dividends after the hour mark following an exquisite counter attack that saw José Ángel Carmona cap it off with a fantastic first-time shot into the top of the net.
Knowing a draw would leave them exposed to Europe-chasing rivals, Jagoba Arrasate rang the changes in the hopes of regaining the lead. However, they proved ineffective, ultimately being forced to settle for a point against a resolute Elche side, who could have sealed a win if not for Raúl Guti’s late wasteful effort. Despite a spirited comeback, Machin’s side remain winless this campaign, whereas Osasuna head back north disappointed to not have taken advantage of Elche’s precarious form.
Flashscore Man of the Match: José Ángel Carmona (Elche)