Barcelona earns 3rd place spot with Incredible come back over Elche. Rejuvenated Barcelona defeated Elche 2:1 at the Manuel Martinez Valero stadium, as they continue their upward transition and move to third on the Spanish league table.
Barça pulled off a complicated victory, the fourth in a row, and are already third in the table.
A goal from Ferran and another from Memphis from a penalty turned the 1-0 score up in a great second half.
Elche who is in an impressive vein of form started the game the brightest as they tested Barcelona goalkeeper Marc Andre Ter Stegen.
Barcelona would later improve as the game wore on as Ousmane Dembele tested Elche goalkeeper Badia from far, Aubameyang has a scoffed shit blocked by the Elche defender.
Elche goalkeeper Edgar Badia was in fine form as he kept most of Barcelona attackers out, the goalkeeper saved a volley from Jodi Alba and later kept out Frankie De jong on a 1V1 situation, going down low to parry the Dutch Midfielder’s effort.
The best chance of the half would fall to Frankie De jong who saw his goal-bound shot blocked on the line by an Elche defender Diego Gonzalez.
The break through would eventually come with Elche surprisingly taking the lead on the run of play, Pedri attempting to clear the ball,played an horrible back pass to Elche attacker Fidel Chaves who sloted the ball past Barcelona goalkeeper Marc Andre Ter Stegen to give the host a one (1) nill advantage going into the second half.
The second half started with a lot of intensity with Barcelona trying to equalize, Barcelona coach Xavi Hernandez made a change bringing January signing Ferran Torres off the bench to replace Gavi,
The former man city star caused the Elche defence a lot of problems with his positioning, he was also denied on three occasions by Elche goalkeeper Edgar Badia.
It was his introduction that later led to Barcelona equaliser as he poked in Jodi Alba’s low cross to bring the score level.
Another substitute, Memphis Depay scored the winner for his team with a rocket shot from the penalty spot to preserve Barcelona’s winning streak.
Elche player Javier Pastore was sent off in the dying seconds of the for calling the referee a ‘son a bitch’ according to the referee’s report.
After the game Barcelona coach Xavi Hernandez spoke to the press
“Édgar (Elche GK) has played a great game, he stopped many goals but it’s clear we had to get one, and I think Barça are the fair winners.”
“Winning 3 games (in a row in La Liga) gives us a lot of morale and confidence. Also coming back from behind; it’s a victory that endorses what we are working on.”
“Ferran started as a substitute for rotation and to give him rest. But when he came on, you can see how much he gives us.”
“Gavi was playing as a false winger and that’s not his natural position.”
“We created many chances. Gavi’s substitution was not because he played badly, but to change the system. We dominated, and although Elche played a great game, we could have won by a bigger margin.”
“I felt that this could’ve been one of those games that we could’ve lost when we should’ve been winning instead.”
“Araújo is the footballer who’s improved the most since I’ve been here. He is improving a lot on the ball, which he had to; and he’s one of the best defensively and he’s doing a lot.”
“I feel sorry for the players on the bench, like Riqui, Mingueza and Eric… Everyone is doing very well, Braithwaite was left out and didn’t deserve it, in the end I have to make decisions.”
“Our attackers did their job perfectly today.”
Xavi and Elche coach Francisco were involved in a tense discussion after yesterday’s game, but within the limits of respect. Later Óscar Hernández and Pere Milla also joined.
Xavi ended the talk by giving a friendly touch on Francisco’s back.
Barça have returned to the top 3 in La Liga for the first time since last August 15th (203 days later). Since Xavi has become coach, Barcelona have earned 31 of 42 possible points.