Without Frenkie de Jong, frontrunner Barça books simple win at Elche
Without sparkling, FC Barcelona recorded a simple win at Spanish straggler Elche in La Liga: 0-4. The Catalans not only had to miss the injured Frenkie de Jong. Andreas Chistensen and Raphinha (suspended) were also missing, and Ousmane Dembélé and Pedri have been out of action for some time.
Despite those absences, Barça coach Xavi benched Franck Kessié and Sergio Busquets, among others, possibly to spare them for Wednesday’s El Clásico in the semifinals of the Copa del Rey. Sergi Roberto, defender Eric García and Gavi occupy Barça’s midfield.
After twenty minutes, the visitors got to 0-1. After a free kick, Ronald Araújo headed back to Robert Lewandowski, who coolly shot. After that, Barça sank far and Elche, which has only won twice this season, actually had the upper hand.
Fati finally scores again
Shortly after the break, Ansu Fati finally scored again. The 20-year-old striker took off from his own half and slid the ball into the far corner. It was his fourth goal of the season for the outfielder, who has been on the reserve bench more often than in the starting lineup this season. He had last scored on Oct. 20 against Villarreal (3-0).
Only after that did Barça get going a bit and through Lewandowski and Ferran Torres (after a fine approach) the score went up. The crossbar and Barcelona goalkeeper Marc-André Ter Stegen then prevented the 1-4.
The victory takes Barça to 71 points after 27 matches, 15 more than number two Real Madrid. ‘The Royal’ will be in action on Sunday at home against Real Valladolid. After that, all attention can turn to the third Clásico in a month. Barça won the previous two. Frenkie de Jong hopes to be there on Wednesday.