BARCELONA, Spain (AP) — Elche’s disheartened fans were dealt another blow after the Spanish league’s bottom team squandered a two-goal lead, had two players sent off, and conceded a stoppage-time penalty to lose to Real Betis 3-2 on Friday.
A penalty converted by Fidel Chaves and a goal by Lucas Boyé had Elche well ahead after only eight minutes and eyeing what would have been just its second win in 23 league games.
But Elche fell apart once again after defender Lisandro Magallán was issued a direct red card for fouling Nabil Fekir with only the goalkeeper to beat. That left the hosts undermanned from the 57th minute.
Manuel Pellegrini sent on striker Borja Iglesias and left back Juan Miranda to spark his attack at halftime and they came through.
After Elche went down to 10 men, Iglesias pulled one back in the 65th from the penalty spot when Ayoze Pérez was fouled by José Morente.
Miranda leveled three minutes later with a cross that hit the far post to beat goalkeeper Édgar Badía.
Badía appeared to have salvaged a point for Elche in the 88th when he saved another penalty taken by Iglesias after Enzo Roco touched the ball with his hand.
But another handball by Roco that earned him an expulsion for a second booking let Willian José go to the spot and rifle home the winner five minutes into injury time.
The crushing outcome came one week after a 10-man Elche conceded a stoppage-time goal to lose to Espanyol 1-0 also at its Martínez Valero Stadium.
Elche coach Pablo Machín – and his players – complained about the expulsions and the penalties, while thanking his team’s supporters.
“We did lots of things well, and my team showed it has character, talent and soul,” Machín said. “The 20,000 fans who supported us today, beyond the result, can value our effort.”
Elche remained in last place at 13 points from safety. Fifth-placed Betis closed to within one point of Atletico Madrid in fourth.
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