Everything smelled of a thrashing. Elche was being beaten by the best Barça of the season during the first half. The Catalans were 2-0 in just 18 minutes. The team from Elche was overwhelmed by the brilliant game of Xavi’s team and no one gave a penny for the franjiverdes at halftime.
However, in the second part, Francisco, who had not been correct in his initial approach, rectified, made four brave changes and, in just over a minute, with goals from Tete Morente and Pere Milla, who have just come out onto the pitch, they equalized the score. Elche even saw the real possibility of winning, for the first time in its history, at the Camp Nou. But in a new controversial action, with Gavi skimming the offside -the VAR did not consider it that way- Nico González scored the 3-2, in the 84th minute, and left the Elche team with honey on their lips, who died again on the shore, as in the previous day against the Valencia.
Francisco kept the eleven type that he is using in the League. Made two changes. Mojica returned to the left back after overcoming his injury, although he could not finish the meeting.
Josan entered the right wing instead of Tete Morente. The Almeria coach considered that the crevillentino could better cover the climbs to the attack of Jordi Alba, because he is used to playing more as a lane, even as a winger. But there Xavi surprised him.
Alba acted more on the inside, with Abde very open in the left profile. Helibelton Palacios did not know whether to cover the young man from Carrús or leave through Gavi, who also entered through that area. And the same thing happened to Josan. Marcone and Mascarell did not help either and Elche even defended with three centrals, with the Colombian stuck more inside and the crevillentino covering the band. There a tremendous hole was generated that, together with the enormous quality of Gavi and Abde, did a lot of damage. The franjiverde footballers lacked forcefulness, aggressiveness and intensity during the first 45 minutes. They made waters everywhere. Barcelona played at pleasure, they could even score before the break.
In the first minute Abde could already score. His action was canceled for offside. The efficiency and the goal, which is lacking so much for the culé team this season, changed completely. His first two shots on goal were rewarded.
In the 15th minute, a Dembélé corner kick was headed by rookie Ferrán Juglà, who created a lot of problems moving around the front of the attack. The franjiverdes players requested a previous foul due to a blockade by Busquets on Diego González, which occurred. But the Barça forward cannot beat Roco, who is taller, in the jump. Another goal conceded from a set piece. Francisco has to correct that urgently.
With no time for lamentations, in the 18th minute, Gavi, the best of the game, received in the spur, took the spur ball, deceived Roco with a feint and when he reached the front of the area he fired. The ball was lightly touched by Edgar Badia, but after rejecting at the post he entered the goal. 2-0 and the shower was coming.
Elche was unable to have possession and to give peace to the game before the good pressure of Barça. Their only recourse were long balls looking for Lucas Boyé and Lucas Pérez. The only green-franj danger in the entire first half occurred in two actions from set pieces. First, in a foul that Fidel launched, Roco was completely alone, but he did not cushion the ball well with his chest and finished high. It was noted that it was defense. There, Elche could get into the game.
The young Ferrán Jutglà, Abde, Dembéle and, above all, Gavi, were driving the veteran French-green footballers crazy. Jutglà had another chance and Abde was able to score 3-0 at the edge of the break. His shot saved him with the Mojica body. Shortly before, Roco returned to have a play similar to the first. He returned to finish badly, but the action was invalidated by offside. At the time of the holiday, it was 2-0 and thank you.
In the second part, the crash changed radically. Francisco knew how to rectify. He took out Tete Morente for Josan and the Spaniard gave the game more verticality. Returned to the defense of four, Gumbau helped much more than Marcone to control the center of the field. The hole that was on the left flank in the first half was plugged.
The change was noticeable from the beginning. As soon as the second period began, with a more intense, more forceful and aggressive Elche, Tete Morente put in a good center, which Boyé was about to take advantage of with the toe. Jordi Alba missed a loan and Lucas Pérez was also very close to scoring.
Francisco was brave and did not wait any longer. Made two new offensive changes. He entered Pere Milla on the left wing for Fidel and Raúl Guti in the center of the field for Mascarell.
The positive effect quickly occurred. In just one minute, Elche tied the match. Pere Milla took a ball, with his usual claw, when he was defending on the left wing. I gave a deep pass to Lucas Boyé, the Argentine completely changed the orientation of the game, Lucas Pérez let the ball pass and it reached Tete Morente on the left wing. The man from Cádiz entered and hit a strong shoe that beat Ter Stegen (2-1).
As soon as he got out of the center, the team from Elche returned to recover the ball. Tete Morente deepened again on his wing and when he reached the center back line at the far post, where Pere Milla finished with his head and scored after hitting the ball on the ground. A goal that was very reminiscent of the promotion in Girona.
The Camp Nou and Xavi could not believe it. Elche even looked capable of winning the match. The forces of the French-green players were diminishing and Mojica had to retire injured. Josema is light years away from the Colombian.
Barça did not give up. Jutglà warned first, then Nico González until in minute 84, Gavi made the wall with Dembélé, he was right in line with Helibelton Palacios, the VAR considered that he was not offside by centimeters and the Sevillian took a pass from the hat behind so that Nico González, after Josema did not arrive, shot to the fore to the net (3-2).
From there it was impossible. Even, Elche finished with Lucas Pérez with discomfort in the knee and there were no more changes. A shame
Eddie is an Australian news reporter with over 9 years in the industry and has published on Forbes and tech crunch.