Depay To The Rescue As Barca Come From Behind To Win At Elche.
Barcelona’s replacements made the difference as Xavi’s team rallied from behind to defeat Elche and maintain their spot in La Liga’s top four.
The Catalans had scored four goals in each of their previous three games before this one, but it took a late penalty from Memphis Depay to defeat a tenacious Elche.
Frenkie de Jong had two excellent chances to put Barcelona ahead in the first half but was thwarted on both occasions.
First, he watched defender Diego Gonzalez clear a shot off the line with the goal gaping, and then, after being released behind the home defense, goalkeeper Edgar Badia produced a wonderful stop to protect their clean sheet.
Tete Morente had sent a close-range attempt over the bar, but it was ignored, and on the stroke of half-time, Fidel seized on a sloppy ball from Pedri, surged into the penalty area, and smashed a low effort past Marc Andre Ter Stegen into the corner of the net.
Barcelona, undeterred by the loss, equalized on the hour mark, with Ferran Torres, who was introduced at halftime, standing in the right position at the right moment to turn the ball in. Just seconds later, the 22-year-old should have had a second, but he rifled his shot over the bar from point-blank range.
When it appeared like Barcelona would have to settle for a point, they were granted a penalty after a VAR review when the ball struck the hand of Antonio Barragan inside the area, with Depay – also a second-half substitution – making no mistake from the spot.
As the game came to a conclusion, Elche had a good case for a penalty denied down when the ball seemed to be handled by Jordi Alba, a decision that was too much for replacement Javier Pastore, who was sent out for protesting.
There was more drama to come as Guido Carrillo’s bullet header looked destined for the top corner deep into added time, but Ter Stegen came to Barcelona’s rescue with a huge save as the Catalans held on for the victory, leapfrogging Real Betis into third and three points ahead of fifth-placed Atletico Madrid.