Barca. Raises Their European Chances For Next Season As They Climb 4th Place
Barcelona’s substitutes made the difference as Xavi’s side came from behind to beat Elche and consolidate their place.
Frenkie de Jong had two clear cut opportunities to give Barcelona a first-half lead but was left frustrated on both occasions. First, he saw a shot cleared off the line by defender Diego Gonzalez with the goal gaping and, a short while later, goalkeeper Edgar Badia made a fine save to preserve their clean sheet after he was released behind the home defence.
The hosts had fired a warning when Tete Morente rifled a shot over the bar from close range, but it wasn’t heeded and, on the stroke of half-time, Fidel pounced on a loose pass from Pedri, burst into the penalty area and drilled a low shot past Marc Andre Ter Stegen into the corner of the net.
Not to be deterred by the setback, Barcelona grabbed their equaliser on the hour-mark, with Ferran Torres, who was brought on at half-time, standing in the right place at the right time to turn the ball home. The 22-year-old ought to have had a second just moments later but rifled his shot over the bar from point-blank range.
Just when it looked like Barca would have to settle for a point, however, they were awarded a penalty following a VAR check when the ball struck the hand of Antonio Barragan inside the box, with Memphis Depay – also a second-half substitute – making no mistake from the spot.