Madrid, Jan 23 (EFE).- Real Madrid on Sunday could not provide a victory in honor of the team’s honorary president, Paco Gento, who died last week at age 88, although Eder Militao did manage to secure a 2-2 draw against Elche, bringing the capital squad back from a deficit with a last-moment tally in stoppage time.
The match was played at the Santiago Bernabeu Stadium before some 40,000 fans, to whom Real Madrid, fresh off its Spanish Super Cup win in Saudi Arabia a week ago, presented that trophy prior to the day’s action.
Real Madrid manager Carlo Ancelotti said before the match that the contest would be difficult and that his players needed to be “motivated” to come away with three points.
There was little ball movement during the match, but there were numerous plays and moves that never resulted in tallies. The clearest lost opportunity came in the 33rd minute when Karim Benzema fired over the crossbar to miss a penalty kick – after missing a prior close-range chance against only the goaltender – and his bad luck continued when he was pulled after the break when he apparently pulled a leg muscle.
Lucas Boye got Elche on the board in the 42nd minute and then Pere Milla knocked another one in for the visitors in the 76th minute.
But Real Madrid were not done, and in the 82nd minute Luka Modric fired a penalty kick that hit for the 2-1 and then it was Militao in the 93rd minute, who headed the ball in after a crossing shot by Vinicius Junior, thus securing the face-saving draw for the capital men.
Vinicius also had a few good chances which came to nought, but his fate was to pick up a yellow card with the result that he will be suspended from the next match.
With the draw, Madrid remains four points in front of No. 2 Sevilla, which also staged a comeback rally on home turf after being down two goals against Celta Vigo for a 2-2 draw on Saturday.
Elche, meanwhile, advanced to five points above the relegation zone, settling for the draw after having taken two straight games in La Liga competition.
Real Madrid: Courtois; Lucas Vazquez (Valverde, m. 78), Militao, Alaba, Mendy; Casemiro, Kroos (Rodrygo, m.63), Modric; Hazard (Isco, m.78), Benzema (Jovic, m.57) and Vinicius.
Elche: Edgar Badia; Palacios, Gonzalo Verdu, Diego Gonzalez, Mojica; Tete Morente (Fidel, m.23), Gumbau, Raul Guti, Pere Milla; Lucas Perez and Lucas Boye (Josan, m.87).