FC Barcelona claimed their fifth win in six league games on Saturday afternoon. Last-placed Elche had no chance at the Camp Nou – largely due to an early sending-off
Barça coach Xavi had to find his way back into the league routine after the Champions League and the 0-2 defeat in Munich and rotated a total of five times: Garcia replaced Christensen in central defence, Balde defended on the left instead of Marcos Alonso. Kessié and de Jong started in midfield for Gavi and Sergio Busquets – and Depay deputised for Raphinha.
Elche have to play 75 minutes shorthanded
Last-placed Elche successfully kept Barça away from their own goal in the opening stages. In the 14th minute, however, the game took a clear direction: Elche were unable to prevent an attack through the centre, de Jong passed to Lewandowski, who could only be stopped by a foul on Gonzalo Verdu. The captain was shown the red card for his foul, and Elche were forced to play 75 minutes out of the game.
Consequently, the Catalans stormed towards the goal of the visitors. Depay (23rd) and de Jong (26th) had failed to find the keeper Edgar Badia before Lewandowski gave Barça the lead: after a cross from Balde, the striker was on hand at the second post and pushed the ball over the line (34th).
Depay (23rd) and de Jong (26th) had failed to find the keeper Edgar Badia before Lewandowski gave Barça the lead: after a cross from Balde, the striker was on hand to push the ball over the line (34th).
Depay increases – Lewandowski scores a brace
Just before the break it was Balde again who passed into the middle from the left and served Depay. With a quick turn, the Dutchman outpaced his opponent before hammering the ball under the crossbar (41st).
The 3-0 lead, which was disallowed by the VAR before the half-time whistle (43rd), was secured by Lewandowski’s second goal shortly after the break: the Pole was allowed to shoot into the bottom left corner from a central position (48th) without being pushed.
With a three-goal lead behind them and a man more on the pitch, the three points for Barcelona were as good as certain. The Catalans controlled the game accordingly. Apart from a few chances, which were missed by Ansu Fati (75th), Ferran Torres (79th) and Araujo (80th), not much else happened in the final phase and the FCB won the fifth league game in six, which was not threatened at any time.
After the international break, Barça will continue with an away game in Mallorca, followed by the all-important Champions League away game at Inter Milan (4 October, 9 p.m.).