Despite the fact that the opening minutes saw an electrifying Villarreal go for it right from the start, it was not long before both sides went back into their shells with the result that it was a tactical battle that dominated the first half. So it was that the Submarine looked to play their normal passing game albeit far further back than normal with the result that first half chances were few and far between.
Elche, for their part looked to steal the ball in midfield or in the finalquarter of the pitch and try to surprise a Villarreal back line only to come across a well organised defence that forced the home side to try their luck on the wings. Fidel had the best chance of the match for the home side after 16 minutes after great individual play saw him one-on-one with Marino, only for the Galician keeper to react superbly, deflecting his effort with his feet.
Pandiani had the best chance for the Yellows sending his header close to the post from Jaume Costa’s left wing cross.
The second half saw the game open up, but it son became a straightforward battle for midfield supremacy, with Villarreal looking to weave a dangerous attack, while Elche held their ground as they searched for one of their dangerous counter attacks. The Submarine were first to give notice of their intentions with a shot from Moi that ended up in the hands of Manu Herrera, but it was the home side that were to pull the irons out of the fire. A rapid counter attack from the green shirts saw the Villareal defence look to clear the ball but only as far as Coro who found himself face to face with Marino and his shot hit Musacchio before going in for the only goal of the game.
The goal left the Yellows no option other than to throw themselves into attack, with Elche comfortable at the back as they awaited the onslaughts of Julio Velazquez’s men. The best chance fell to Cavenaghi with a back heel in the six-yard box following a cross from Uche that was saved by Manu Herrera at the last minute.
Elche: Manu Herrera, Damian, Etxeita, Pelegrin, Edu Albacar; Carles Gil (Miguel Linares, 89`), Generelo, Mantecon Fidel, Coro (Pelayo, 82`); and Powel (Xumetra, 65`).
Villarreal: Marino; Venta (Cavenaghi, 82`), Mellberg, Musacchio, Oriol; Marcos Senna, Pablo Iniguez, Moi, Jaume Costa, Trigueros (Gerard Moreno, 75`); and Pandiani (Uche, 65`)
Goal: 1-0, min. 70: Coro.
Referee: Jorge Valdes Aller (Castille-Leon Society). Yellow cards for Elche’s, Damian (66`) and Linares (90`) and for Villarreal’s Marcos Senna (52`) and Musacchio (61`).