Elche 0-4 Barcelona: Match Review
Barcelona took on La Liga’s last-placed team Elche at Estadio Martinez Valero late on Saturday night with some of their key stars missing. Ousmane Dembele and Pedri continued their long spell out of action through injury while Raphinha missed the clash due to an accumulation of yellow cards.
Xavi Hernandez made some bold decisions with the starting lineup on the night as he attempted to play around with his options.
Marc-Andre ter Stegen started in goal with Marcos Alonso and Ronald Araujo deployed in central defence. Jordi Alba and Jules Kounde began the game as the left and right back, respectively.
Eric Garcia got a strange start as the pivot in midfield. Advanced to his position, it was Gavi and Sergi Roberto who completed the midfield. Robert Lewandowski played as the central striker with Ansu Fati and Ferran Torres starting on the left and right wing.
The game at Estadio Martinez Valero began with Elche dominating the early spell post-kickoff. Morente’s first-minute effort and Bigas’ early header, however, came to nothing against Marc Andre ter Stegen.
Barcelona began to control the game only at the eight-minute mark. With slow and patient buildup, they began finding their way through the hosts to find Lewy and Fati.
The Catalans scored the first goal of the night through their lethal Polish striker in a move that stemmed from a set-piece. Alba’s free-kick fell straight for Araujo who headed the ball into Lewy’s path. The striker did not miss his mark and helped the ball over the line with a difficult strike.
Just one minute after the opening goal, Gavi has a great chance to leave his mark on the game but could not get the ball past Edgar Badia.
The hosts then took back control of the proceedings for the following ten minutes. A combination of Fidel Chavez, Carlos Clerc, Tete Morente and Pedro Bigas saw Elche create some good openings but it all bore no fruit.
With two minutes to go for the half-time whistle, Lewandowski’s header painfully went above the crossbar while Kounde missed a simple chance to make it 2-0 for Barcelona. Heading into the half-time break, the Blaugranas had the deserved lead, although they should have had more goals to their name.
Like the first period, Elche began the minutes after the restart on the front foot. Gumbau did well with his long-range strike but Ter Stegen was up for the task. Minutes later, Lewandowski had a big chance at the other end but failed to convert.
Ansu Fati finally broke his curse and scored Barcelona’s second goal of the night with a wonderful solo effort in the 56th minute. Driving from the half-line box, the youngster travelled until the Elche box before firing a low shot from outside the area into the back of the net.
Ten minutes after his team’s second, Robert Lewandowski scored his second on the night and made the scoreline 3-0. It was Gavi’s hard work that won the ball back for the Blaugranas. The youngster passed the ball to Lewy who put the ball low beyond Badia.
Franck Kessie replaced Gavi almost immediately after the goal.
In the blink of an eye, the scoreline read 4-0. Lewy’s accurate long ball fell sweetly at Torres’ feet. Cutting inside neatly, the Spanish winger curled the shot beyond Badia’s reach into the bottom corner.
Pablo Torre replaced Ronald Araujo in the 70th minute and Aleix Garrido came on for Fati seven minutes later.
Elche came very close to pulling one back multiple times in the final ten minutes. Josan’s shot missed the target by a whisker and Fidel’s header five minutes later struck the crossbar. Seconds later, Guti had two great chances skewed wide.
With the win, Barcelona extend their lead atop La Liga to fifteen points temporarily. The pressure is now on Real Madrid as they host Real Valladolid on Sunday at Santiago Bernabeu.