Two flashes of Leo Messi,Leo Messi that with the two tonight he already has eighteen points and is the top scorer in the championship, and a Jordi Alba, all of them in the second half, gave the victory to the Catalans against the Elche (3-0) to cut the advantage of the two Madrid teams in The league.
Messi, with two goals and one assist, unblocked a game that had the same scent as the last ones and saved his team, which is now five points behindl Atlético de Madrid(with one game less) and two of the Real Madrid.
And that was the Barcelona a team without a soul during the first half. Ronald Koeman’s team seemed ‘groggy’ after the hits against Paris Saint Germain and Cádiz. Predictable in attack and weak behind. Past your lack of confidence, anyone can cough, look into your eyes and on many occasions even over your shoulder.
Koeman left five players who drew against Cádiz; Write made four changes with respect to the team that beat Eibar, but Barça continued with a flat football in which only one player played in the first half: Francisco Trincao.
The Portuguese was the only one who encouraged the attack of the Catalans. He was the only one who overflowed, he was the only one who finished with intention, he was the one who created danger in a team that seems to have already lowered their arms.
He had problems the Catalan team in construction. Pjanic does not give agility to the game, de Jong did not have arrivals from behind, Pedri barely overflowed; and Messi? Accompanied by Braithwaite I hope some overflow, some individual play so that the bench jumped, but it did not seem like his night today, until in the second half he again demonstrated what he is capable of and decided the balance for his team.
To all this must be added the structural problems in defense. They played in the axis Piqué and Umtiti, a couple that was a starter not so long ago, and who had not played together since last June. Mingueza occupied the right lane and Alba, the left.
But at the first change (minute 5), Lucas Boyé already warned with a close shot before the doubts of the centrals. Before, Trincao, in the first attack action of the match, put Edgar Badia to the test.
The same protagonists agitated the game in the 20th. This time, the Portuguese made a great individual move, with a couple of dribbles, but he finished where Badía was.
As the minutes passed, Elche felt more comfortable. Barça did not arrive and Escribá’s men played looser to the point that they had a good arrival through Pere Milla in 44.
Koeman was right leaving a sterile Pjanic on the bench and looking for the overflow of Dembélé at halftime. Barça was more recognizable and practically in the first action of the second half, in a great combination between Braithwaite and Messi, the Catalans scored.
It was the Argentine who scored 1-0 in minute 48, after receiving a heel assist from the Danish. But as has happened so many times this season, Barcelona did not have continuity, they returned to their old ways and the party returned to lower its revolutions.
With half an hour ahead, Escribá put Fidel and Morente into play, looking for an opportunity, but the one who reappeared was Messi, after a great action by De Jong.
The Dutchman signed a prodigious slalom, which remembered those he offered in his time at Ajax, and assisted Messi, who with mettle defined against five opponents and the goalkeeper (2-0, min. 69).
Four minutes later, Messi served on Braithwaite, another of the highlights this Wednesday, who he gave his second goal assist of the match, this time for Alba to close out the match.
Before the end Griezmann, who came out for the Danes, had a couple of very clear chances to increase the scoring account, but the Frenchman is still denied before the opposing goal.
3 – Barcelona: Ter Stegen; Mingueza, Umtiti, Piqué (Lenglet, min. 76), Jordi Alba (Dest, min. 76); Pjanic (Dembélé, min.46), Frenkie de Jong, Pedri; Trincao (Busquets, min. 67), Braithwaite (Griezmann, min. 76) and Messi.
0 – Elche: Badia; Edgar Badia, Barragán, Gonzalo Verdú, Josema, Mojica; Nuke Mfulu (Luismi, min. 81), Raúl Guti, Cifu (Fidel Chaves, min. 60), Rigoni (Tete Morente, min. 60); Pere Milla (Nino, min.72) and Lucas Boyé (Carrillo, min.72).
Goals: 1-0, min. 48: Messi. 2-0, min. 69: Messi. 3-0, min. 73: Alba.
Referee: Isidro Díaz de Mera Escuderos (Committee of Castilla-La Mancha).
Incidents: Postponed match of the first day of LaLiga Santander played at the Camp Nou. No spectators.