After the dominating victories against Napoli, Atletico Madrid and Athletic Club in La Liga and Europa League, FC Barcelona faced the struggling Elche CF in the league match on Wednesday. But it was not as easy as they expected. Barcelona were expected to rain goals at Estadio Martinez Valero. But Elche hold them tight throughout the game. Barcelona had to fight hard to earn the three points and move to the third position in the La Liga point table.
On the night, Xavi opted to make some changes, especially in the attack. Adama Traore and Ferran Torres started on the bench, with Gavi and Ousmane Dembele taking their places. Dani Alves and Jordi Alba took over the fullback positions with a midfield trio of Sergio Busquets, Frenkie de Jong, and Pedri.
Second-half goals from Ferran Torres and Memphis Depay helped Barcelona come from behind to claim a 2-1 victory away to Elche on Sunday.
The Catalan giants started the match on a high as they attacked Elche relentlessly. They opened the attack through the right-wing when Dembele sprinted the ball and passed it to Aubameyang. But the Gabonese striker could not finish it.
Elche stunned Barca when the first half was about to finish. They took the lead through Fidel Chaves in the 44th minute after he intercepted a poor back pass from Pedri.
In the second half, Xavi bought in Ferran Torres with an intent to attack more and to grab all three points. The Catalan club attacked with high intensity and searched for the equalising goal. Xavi got the reward for bringing in Torres as he scored the equaliser when the game passed one hour.
Both goalkeepers were on top form as they denied great chances at both ends.
The moment Barcelona were waiting for came in the 84th minute when the referee awarded a penalty when the ball struck the arm of Antonio Barragan. A penalty was awarded after a VAR review, and Memphis Depay, who came in as a substitute, scored it with ease.
Elche argued with the referee for a penalty when the ball hit Alba’s arm after a corner. But the referee denied it as his hand was not in a high position.
Barca grabbed all three points and safely secured the unbeaten streak as the final whistle came.
“Memphis can be an important player,” Xavi said in a post-match news conference. “The penalty is unstoppable. It’s a positive. He trains really well. He’s the team’s top scorer. He’s really professional. We’re managing his minutes because he’s just back from an injury.”