Elche move off the bottom with win at Athletic Bilbao
Elche moved off the foot of the Primera Division standings on Sunday courtesy of a 2-1 victory at Athletic Bilbao.
Victor Rodriguez put the visitors ahead in the 17th minute at San Mames and Faycal Fajr doubled their advantage eight minutes into the second half.
Mikel San Jose pulled a goal back in the 73rd minute but that was as good as it got for the hosts, as Elche – thrashed 5-0 by Barcelona in the Copa del Rey in midweek and beset by financial troubles – held on for only their third win in La Liga this term.
Elche goalkeeper Przemyslaw Tyton was the first to have his palms warmed when he was called upon to parry a Mikel Rico volley within two minutes.
But 15 minutes later the visitors were ahead, when Rodriguez latched on to Jonathas’ pass and despatched a right-footed shot into the bottom-left corner.
Mid-table Athletic pushed for an equaliser for the remainder of the first half but failed to seriously test Tyton, off-target efforts from Aritz Aduriz and Ander Iturraspe the best they could muster.
Elche started the second half brightly and, although Jonathas’ curling effort was kept out by Athletic goalkeeper Gorka Iraizoz in the 50th minute, they were not to be denied a second goal for much longer.
Jonathas was again involved, teeing up Fajr for a right-footed finish into the bottom-left corner in the 53rd minute.
Tyton had to be alert just after the hour to preserve his side’s two-goal cushion, superbly tipping a Markel Susaeta free-kick away for a corner.
San Jose did reduce the arrears 17 minutes from time when he lashed a 20-yard shot into the top-left corner, but Athletic could not make any further inroads.