Elche 1 - 2 Barcelona summary: score, goals, highlights, | LaLiga
Elche 1-2 Barcelona: how it happened
Barça's winning streak goes on
85' - Depay puts Barça ahead from the spot
61' - Torres levels the score as Barça pile on the pressure
45' - Fidel gives Elche the lead with a fine finish on the stroke of half-time
37' - Morente skies a great chance from eight yards
26' - Frenkie open goal effort cleared off line
Thanks for joining me for today's live action. We'll be back soon for more...
Peep, peep, peeeep! Barça have done enough for all three points.
Jordi Alba holding his leg and could be struggling. Barça have dropped further back and Elche are sensing another chance may still be open to them.
We're looking at another five minutes here
Elche players surround ref claiming it's their turn to get a penalty for handball. They have a decent claim here... but the man in charge waves them away. VAR not suggesting it needs reviewed either.
Ref has a look at the pitchside screen (after showing Piqué a card for asking him to) and points to the spot. Very, very dubious, in my humble opinion.
The movement from Torres, matched by the vision and through balls from a number of his teammates, is causing Elche all sorts of problems.
The latest has him running into the left channel and firing a shot into the side netting.
Torres double chance
Elche's keeper could have a busy 15 minutes to keep his side in this game.
And Badía has just denied Barça's scorer today with two excellent saves in the space of a couple of minutes, the second a stunning reaction block.
Auba and Dembélé OFF as Traore and Depay freshen up this attack.
Barça continue to dictate the tempo of this game and look the more capable of creating a chance, but we thought that in the first half.
More changes afoot...
A few changes to tell you about:
Elche: ON - Ponce and Carrillo; OFF - Morente and Boye
Barça: ON- Nico; OFF - Frenkie de Jong
Ter Stegen save
Just as it looked as though Barça were lining up chances, Elche break and switch play from right to left and then it's cut back to Milla who strikes. The big German between the sticks is sharp and touches over the bar.
Torres again goes close after a great first time lay-off from Alba. Turning the screw?
Ferran levels it up
GOAL!! Forget that previous chance, Ferran Torres has nipped in a tapped home. The pressure was mounting.
Oh what a chance for Barçe, although it's one of those that will not end up in the stats of shots at goal.
Auba gets himself to the left of Badía's goal, looks up, must see the options, but misses them all. Wasted!
Two yellows handed out in the last couple of minutes, fortunately for two different players.
Elche's Barragan is followed by Dembélé, the first for a poor challenge, the second for poor chat.
Ferran Torres, who was on at the break for Gavi, gets his first chance to influence, but firing well over. He could be a key introduction as Elche may tire chasing.
Araujo into the book after battling with three different Elche players. Free-kick handed to them in a decent position on the edge of the Barça area...
Straight into the jumping wall and it's cleared at the second time of asking.
Immediately Barça are back into their rhythm, determined no doubt to get level as quickly as possible. But that goal is now something to hold onto so we can likely expect more counter attacking from the hosts.
Peep! We're back underway.
Players heading back out...
As the fans here sing along to Oasis, I should remind them that I predicted they'd take the lead only to lose by two.
I've been wrong plenty times before though!
Halfway through that period Barça should have taken the lead, as you'll see from this clip. Good defending to be there, but De Jong had so much goal to choose from. Poor finish.
Decent half that, and what a scoreline to set up the second.
The home fans were already in good voice and that ending has just cranked it up a level.
It's worth pointing out, if you've not already seen it, that the assist for Fidel's fine finish goes to Barça's Pedri. The youngster was tracking back into the middle of the park to make a strong challenge but what he did was play it straight into the path of the Elche man.
Peep! No more action here and the players head in for some wise words.
Fidel scores for Elche
GOAL! Brilliant finish, after getting in behind Alves, low across goal, beating the outstretched arm of Ter Stegen.
Cue crowd mentalness!
Barça pushing again but the hosts fighting hard to close down the space. Finely balanced here.
This game has sparked even further into life and Barça head straight down the other end, Luuk de Jong seeing his passing shot pushed away by Badía, helped further by his defenders.
Elche have reacted brilliantly in the last couple of minutes and what a chance just fell to Tete Moreno.
A cross from the right is not cleared and the Spaniard steps onto the bouncing ball and fires it into orbit. What a glorious opportunity.
The crowd are certainly playing their part in this but they need their heroes to get more involved at the business end.
We've got a stoppage in play here and the whole ground is screaming for Araújo to be sent off for what looked potentially quite a bad challenge.
Replay shows it was nothing. As you were everyone.
Off the line - Elche
Barça break and Dembélé sees his effort parried by Badía. It falls to Frenkie who must score but his first-time strike is cleared off the line by González. Should be 0-1.
Elche boss Rodríguez, all in black with pristine white trainers, is animated on the touchline.
But he's not trying to wind up his forces, instead telling them to calm down. I think a period of more than a few seconds of possession would do them all some good, but Barça's pressing ain't allowing that.
Excellent play from the visitors. First Dembélé does really well to make space for a cross on the right, and then as it's knocked away, Jordi Alba meets it on the edge of the area and drives a clean hit goalwards, Badía parrying it above his head and then collecting.
The Frenchman may still be working his way back into the hearts of the blaugrana faithful, but he's going about it the right way, 'doing his talking on the pitch,' as some folk say.
Decent start from him here, working well from the right.
Some loose play from Dembélé on the half-way line is almost punished by Elche, who break down the left and force a corner. A chance to cause some problems in the Barça area... but it's cleared with relative ease.
Barça are in control of these early stages.
We've just seen a sweet diagonal from Piqué, following a period of possession, killed dead on the chest of Pedro wide on the right. He darts infield and lays the ball off to Dembélé, who shifts his feet and tries to curl one into the top left corner. Over and wide...but not by that much.
As the players find their feet, there is already a nice tempo about this, as we expected. Boye has had the only real sniff at goal for the home team, skinning his marker before letting fly from distance, just right of the centre.
Ter Stegen watched it closely as it flew just wide of the left post.
Another nice move from the visitors again is worked to Dembélé on the right. His cross is met with a powerful clearing header, at the expense of a corner.
Although Elche have had some of the ball moving forward, predominantly down the left, it's the Catalans looking more threatening.
Elche are playing right to left as I watch and a quick look at that Barça frontline sees Dembélé and Gavi taking wide berths of Auba in the middle.
And the former Arsenal man is the first to get the excitement going with a strong run to the edge of the area. Met by a wall of white shirts he flicks the ball out to his French winger who, in turn, delivers a very clever cross - stabbing an angled boot to create the appropriate curve - but it's just over everyone's heads.
Peeep! Elche get us going...
OK, take your places. It's time.
We're onto the pitch and the customary friendliness between captains and officials means it's almost time to get going. Big hugs between Francisco and Xavi too.
Don't expect those smiles to remain once the whistle blows.
Elche to score first, Barça to win
Yip. That's my call as we edge closer to kick-off. What's yours? (There's a comments section for a reason)
I'll go further and say that a positive start for the home team will be rewarded by a goal by Lucas Boyé.
Unfortunately for them, though, the intricate build-up play from Xavi's talented side will take its toll on them, and they'll run out 1-3 victors, including another strike from Aubameyang.
Elche late goals
We should bear in mind that the home side have had a habit of late of scoring late in games. In fact, six of Elche's last eight home goals in league games have come after 70 minutes.
Barça will be hoping to put this result to bed as early as possible, but let's see. About 15 till KO.
Barça in the Franjiverdes house
Xavi and co. arrive in the stadium, masks on as precautions continue to be taken in Spain.
Elche vs Barça | head-to-head
You'll hardly be surprised by the news that the blaugrana have dominated the head-to-head in this clash, taking nine wins out of the last ten meetings. The other, back in 2014, ended goalless.
This season has seen a disappointing showing from Barça, relatively speaking, but the evolution is starting to take shape.
If you like stats and graphics like these, you'll want to pay a visit to our friends over at sofascore.com.
Elche looking up
Clearly, few at Elche are getting carried away with their potential this season, but there is certainly a feeling that they should be focused on striving for the highest possible finish rather than simply survival.
With four wins in five at home in LaLiga, an upset could be on the cards today, as optimism abounds.
That sensation, of course, can quickly change, and despite only being four points behind ninth-placed Valencia, they can quickly be sucked into a relegation fight.
Starting XI: Barça
Ter Stegen; Dani Alves, Araújo, Piqué, Jordi Alba; Pedri, Busquets, De Jong; Ousmane Dembélé, Aubameyang, Gavi
Starting XI: Elche
Edgar Badía; Barragán, Enzo Roco, Diego González, Mojica; Tete Morente, Mascarell, Raúl Guti, Fidel; Lucas Boyé, Pere Milla
Team news is incoming...
You may well have followed our coverage of Real Madrid's game yesterday. Their manager, Carlo Ancelotti, believes that his side gave themselves a huge shot of self-confidence and belief after bouncing back from a goal down to Real Sociedad on Saturday to win the game 4-1. It was just the tonic Madrid needed looking forward to their next game - the Champions League Last 16 return leg against Paris Saint-Germain on Wednesday which they will enter trailing 1-0 from the first leg.
“The plan was to press La Real high up and it worked out well. The players put in a huge physical effort, and if we play like that on Wednesday, we will increase our chances of winning the tie. It was our best game so far this season”.
“It was important because it's allowed us to increase our lead to eight points, we enjoyed ourselves and the team understood just how important this game was. It will give us a lot of hope for Wednesday. Playing with that kind of intensity is what the fans love to see and we will need it again on Wednesday. Can we repeat the performance? Of course we can”.
Xavi and co. are building to compete with their bitter rivals again next season...
How it stands: Barça
Things are looking much better for Xavi Hernández and his Barcelona side. A full recovery from where the early season struggles is maybe too much of a stretch but they go into this game looking to make it three LaLiga wins on the trot, and five wins in six.
The Catalan side are unbeaten since their extra-time defeat to Athletic Bilbao in the Copa del Rey on 20 January, and they have scored four in each of their last three games.
With the title long gone, everything is about securing Champions League football next season.
How it stands: Elche
Our hosts today have won four league games since 10 January, giving them a decent cushion from the relegation zone.
In 14th at start of play, their fans are dreaming of a special season, given that they've not finished above 13th since the mid-1970s.
With that pristine playing surface in mind, here's a young superstar in the making who'll just love to get the ball rolling on it.
Pedri is seen as one important cog in the future wheel of success at the Catalan club.
For lovers of the Beautiful Game, a beautiful pitch.
Given the way Barça have been playing of late, though, the groundsfolk may want to scuff it up a bit ahead of kick-off.
As well as getting my chat on proceedings here in Elche, you may also fancy watching the action for yourself. Pop one of the tips of your fingers onto that picture above and you can find out who is broadcasting the game where you live.
If you disagree with anything I then say, you can pop your, clearly incorrect, opinion into the comments section of this blog.
Elche vs Barcelona: welcome
Hello and let me welcome you to our latest live coverage as we look ahead to seeing if FC Barcelona can continue their winning streak on the road at Elche.
I'm Calum Roche and I'll be building up to the game - kick off around an hour from now - before bringing you details of what's going on through till the final whistle.
Stay with me for the whole show, or dip in and out while being getting on with other tasks. I'll be here when you need me...