De Burgos Bengoetxea signaled the end of the match and the Elche players barely celebrated the point achieved, dejected for having once again had Real Madrid on the ropes and not having achieved victory. In just three days Francisco’s players, absent due to covid, have seen how Real Madrid left them out of the Cup with one less player and after getting ahead on the scoreboard, and yesterday they equaled the 0-2 that Pere Milla established in the absence of a quarter of an hour. Once again, Madrid had to resort to the epic to avoid defeat against a rival who made an outstanding exercise in pragmatism. With only three shots, Elche beat Courtois twice. Ancelotti’s team needed 23 shots, including Benzema’s missed penalty in the first half, to beat Edgar Badía twice.
Courtois, Eder Militao, Alaba, Ferland Mendy, Lucas Vázquez (Federico Valverde, min. 78), Casemiro, Modric, Kroos (Rodrygo, min. 63), Vinicius Junior, Benzema (Jovic, min. 57) and Hazard (Isco, min. 78)
Edgar, Diego González, Helibelton Palacios, Mojica, Gonzalo Verdú, Gumbau, Tete Morente (Fidel, min. 23), Pere Milla, Raúl Guti, Lucas Boyé and Lucas Pérez (Josan, min. 87)
Goles 0-1 min. 41: Lucas Boye. 0-2 mins. 75: Father Milla. 1-2 mins. 81: Modric. 2-2 mins. 91: Eder Militao.
Referee Ricardo de Burgos Bengoetxea
Yellow cards Eder Militao (min. 53), Fidel (min. 54), Vinicius Junior (min. 71) and Alaba (min. 94)
“If we had been more successful we would have won”, concluded Carlo Ancelotti. All in all, the Italian coach took the point for granted as the match unfolded, although he also had a critical message with his team’s defensive forcefulness. “The match was lost, it had gone wrong by missing a penalty and having many opportunities that we didn’t realize. The fact that they haven’t lost is a very good sign for the squad”, continued Ancelotti. Karim Benzema’s missed penalty was the first missed by the French striker since he arrived at Real Madrid in the summer of 2009. Since then he has taken 16 in all competitions and converted 15. Benzema had to be replaced around the time of game due to discomfort in the hamstrings of his left leg. The club’s medical report clarified that he withdrew as a precaution and that in principle he will be ready for the quarterfinals of the Cup in Bilbao on February 3.
To explain the multitude of failed occasions, Carletto appealed to the profile of his forwards. “The characteristics of our attackers are not those of area forwards, in fact, we have scored the tie with the best leading player we have, which is Militão”. On whether the aerial power of the Brazilian central defender can put him on the scoring path that Sergio Ramos traced, Ancelotti argued: “Ramos scored many goals, I don’t know how many, although there is one that I remember well [el de Ramos al Atlético en la final de la Champions de Lisboa]. Sergio had a lot of success and Militão has to learn to have the same because he can do it”. The Brazilian’s goal came after a great cross from Vinicius, who has participated in 23 goals for his team this season (15 goals and eight assists).
The Madrid coach was not satisfied with the defense of the plays that caused Elche’s two goals. As a man trained in the defensive rigors of footballEvery time this season defensive errors have surfaced, Ancelotti has not been shy about pointing them out. More than with a reproachful tone, the Madrid coach slips the messages as attention calls. “We have to avoid complicating our games, we could be more aggressive in goal duels. We didn’t swing well in the first goal, they broke the line and then the cross was very good. These small details have to be corrected, like in the second goal, where we should have been more compact. We are happy, but there are many things that we have to consider”, warned Carletto.
The Whites’ coach also warned that the season is now entering its decisive stage: “Now we have a short break and we arrive well positioned in the League, the Champions League and the Cup. Now comes the most important period in which the Titles”. Ancelotti’s smile widened when he was asked if his team had missed an opportunity to distance Sevilla after Lopetegui’s side drew against Celta. “They must think the same. It’s been a crazy day, we and Sevilla equalized after trailing by two goals and Atlético won a game that seemed lost. It’s a crazy league.”
The frustration of the Elche players was reflected in the words of Pere Milla, author of the second goal for his team and also the penalty that Modric scored this time, the fourth that they point out to Madrid in the last six days, the same as in the 66 previous meetings. “I feel bad, we had them on the ropes, like the other day in the Cup, and we have wasted it. We could have won”, lamented the Elche midfielder, who did not criticize the referee for this action, but for the foul he received from Kroos in the play prior to the first penalty: “The ball hits my hand, you can whistle , but in the first there was a lack of Kroos”.