Eibar give themselves some breathing space

Eibar are now nine points clear of the LaLiga Santander relegation zone thanks to their 2-1 victory over Granada on Sunday.

Coach José Luis Mendilibar previously stated that he believed “36 or 37 points would be enough” to keep Eibar up, and his side took a huge step towards reaching that mark.

“I don’t know if it’s a definitive step,” Mendilibar said after the match. “but being eight or nine points above the relegation places is a lot.”

Despite the victory, Mendilibar warned that Eibar cannot afford to become complacent and start to believe the job is already done.

“We still have to think that one of the bottom team can reach 35 points,” the Eibar boss added.

“We will have to win one more game for sure. We have six games left and seeing how we are competing we are very confident.”

No doubt Mendilibar would have been impressed by the nature of Eibar’s victory. In the first half Eibar dominated proceedings and were able to bounce back after Roberto Soldado got an equaliser early in the second half.

Striker Kike García put in a particularly impressive and busy performance for Eibar. His tenacity and desire played a major role in Eibar’s first goal.

He capitalised on a mistake at the back and put through winger Pablo De Blasis who ran onto the pass before scooping the ball over Granada keeper Aarón Escandell’s head.

Kike rounded off the match by getting the match-winning goal when he picked up a low cross from Fabián Orellana in the box and scored with a low left-footed shot into the bottom-right corner.

“Three golden points,” Kike exclaimed. “I’m happy for the team and also for the coach because he deserves it.

“We fought for him because he’s always been there for us.

“Victory here was important.”

The match also proved to be Orellana’s last in an Eibar strip, and the Chilean winger said goodbye in the best possible fashion -by providing the assist for the winning goal.

Orellana’s contract ends on Tuesday and he has agreed to sign for Real Valladolid.

“Today was my last game for Eibar,” the winger posted on Instagram. “With much sadness, I want to thank the tremendous coaching staff and all my colleagues for the past two and a half seasons together.

“I also want to thank the wonderful Eibar fans for their support and affection.”

Orellana is one of six Eibar players whose contracts expire on Tuesday. Midfielder Gonzalo Escalante has already left the club and the contracts of Pablo De Blasis, Pedro León, Charles and Iván Ramis also run out on June 30.