Spanish La Liga
Barcelona4Elche0

Barcelona 4-0 Elche

Alexis Sanchez scores three goals as Barcelona beat Elche to go top of La Liga.

Alexis Sanchez scored a hat-trick as Barcelona beat Elche to return to the top of La Liga.

The Spanish giants, without the injured Lionel Messi, opened the scoring when Sanchez stabbed in Jordi Alba's fine first-half cross.

Fidel hit the woodwork for Elche but Pedro added a second when he raced on to a through ball before finishing.

Xavi missed a second-half penalty but Sanchez tapped home before curling in a stunning free kick.

Barcelona move level on points with Atletico Madrid but go top with a better goal difference. The two sides face each other on Saturday.

Messi returned to training last week after five weeks out with a hamstring injury, but was left out of the squad to face Elche, with coach Gerardo Martino perhaps looking to ensure he is fit for the crucial clash with Atletico.

In truth, Barcelona did not miss Messi against Elche with Sanchez instead taking centre stage as he increased his tally to 11 goals for the season.

He got his first with Barcelona's first attack of the game as Alba raced away down the flank before curling a smart ball behind the defence, giving Sanchez the simple task of poking home a first-time shot.

Elche, in their first season back in the Spanish top flight after a 24-year absence, went into the game on the back of three consecutive league defeats and rarely looked like ending that run at the Nou Camp, although they were unlucky not to equalise when Fidel struck the woodwork soon after Sanchez's opener.

But from then it was all Barcelona. Cesc Fabregas carved open the Elche defence with a smart through ball that sent Pedro clear and the Spain forward rounded Elche goalkeeper Tono before sidefooting the ball into the empty net.

Pedro and Iniesta combined midway through the first half and the latter brought a fine save out of Tono, before Sanchez struck the side-netting with a decent effort as half-time approached.

Barcelona should have extended their lead soon after the restart when Fabregas was brought down inside the area, but captain Xavi compounded to send the spot kick wide.

But a third goal did arrive just after the hour mark when Pedro unselfishly squared a pass to Sanchez and the Chile forward made no mistake from eight yards out.

Barcelona dominated the closing stages before Sanchez capped a fine all-round performance with his third goal of the game, curling a 20-yard free kick over the wall and into the back of the net.

Line-ups

Barcelona

  • 1Valdés
  • 2Montoya
  • 18AlbaBooked at 73mins
  • 17Song
  • 15Bartra
  • 3Piqué
  • 6XaviSubstituted forSergiat 65'minutes
  • 8Iniesta
  • 4FábregasBooked at 73mins
  • 9SánchezSubstituted forTelloat 74'minutes
  • 7PedroSubstituted forNeymarat 81'minutes

Substitutes

  • 5Puyol
  • 11Neymar
  • 13Pinto Colorado
  • 14Mascherano
  • 20Tello
  • 21Adriano
  • 24Sergi

Elche

  • 13Rodríguez Martínez
  • 19SapunaruSubstituted forMantecónat 80'minutes
  • 21Albácar Gallego
  • 6Pérez MinguezBooked at 86mins
  • 3BotíaBooked at 68mins
  • 4Rodríguez Lombán
  • 7Ñíguez Esclapez
  • 24SánchezSubstituted forMárquezat 66'minutes
  • 9Boakye
  • 15Gil
  • 16Chaves de la TorreSubstituted forDel Moral Fernándezat 61'minutes

Substitutes

  • 5Rivera
  • 8Mantecón
  • 14Del Moral Fernández
  • 17Márquez
  • 18Pelegrín
  • 28Herrera
  • 30Martínez Aranda
Referee:
David Fernández Borbalán
Attendance:
85,000

Match Stats

Home TeamBarcelonaAway TeamElche
Possession
Home64%
Away36%
Shots
Home13
Away3
Shots on Target
Home6
Away0
Corners
Home1
Away2
Fouls
Home12
Away17

Live Text

Match ends, Barcelona 4, Elche 0.

Full Time

Second Half ends, Barcelona 4, Elche 0.

Attempt missed. Javier Márquez (Elche) left footed shot from a difficult angle and long range on the left is too high from a direct free kick.

Foul by Francesc Fábregas (Barcelona).

Carles Gil (Elche) wins a free kick on the left wing.

Marc Bartra went off injured after Barcelona had used all subs.

Martín Montoya (Barcelona) wins a free kick on the right wing.

Foul by Manu del Moral (Elche).

Attempt saved. Neymar (Barcelona) left footed shot from outside the box is saved in the bottom left corner. Assisted by Andrés Iniesta.

Jordi Alba (Barcelona) wins a free kick on the left wing.

Foul by Aarón (Elche).

Booking

Rubén Pérez (Elche) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

Neymar (Barcelona) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

Rubén Pérez (Elche).

Neymar (Barcelona) wins a free kick on the left wing.

Foul by Aarón (Elche).

Neymar (Barcelona) wins a free kick on the left wing.

Foul by Aarón (Elche).

Francesc Fábregas (Barcelona) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

Foul by Manu del Moral (Elche).

Substitution

Substitution, Barcelona. Neymar replaces Pedro.

Substitution

Substitution, Elche. Sergio Mantecón replaces Cristian Sapunaru because of an injury.

Corner, Elche. Conceded by Alexandre Song.

Substitution

Substitution, Barcelona. Cristian Tello replaces Alexis Sánchez.

Foul by Pedro (Barcelona).

Aarón (Elche) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Booking

Francesc Fábregas (Barcelona) is shown the yellow card.

Booking

Jordi Alba (Barcelona) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

Foul by Jordi Alba (Barcelona).

Aarón (Elche) wins a free kick on the right wing.

Goal!

Goal! Barcelona 4, Elche 0. Alexis Sánchez (Barcelona) from a free kick with a right footed shot to the bottom right corner.

Booking

Alberto Botía (Elche) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

Alexis Sánchez (Barcelona) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

Foul by Alberto Botía (Elche).

Substitution

Substitution, Elche. Javier Márquez replaces Carlos Sánchez.

Foul by Martín Montoya (Barcelona).

Richmond Boakye (Elche) wins a free kick on the left wing.

Substitution

Substitution, Barcelona. Sergi Roberto replaces Xavi.

Foul by Francesc Fábregas (Barcelona).

Cristian Sapunaru (Elche) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

goal