Barcelona have picked up a comprehensive away against Elche to move ahead of Sevilla in the table.
Barcelona have produced a comprehensive 2-0 against Elche to move ahead of Sevilla in the La Liga table.
The Catalans were coming off a disappointing Spanish Cup final defeat against Athletic Bilbao and the most worrying thing was the absence of Lionel Messi, who has been suspended following his red card in the same final.
Frenkie de Jong broke the deadlock before the half-time as the Dutchman provided Barca with much-needed momentum.
Marc-Andre ter Stegen was forced to make a stunning save after Oscar Mingueza gave away the ball in a dangerous zone. The German goalkeeper stretched his legs to deny Emiliano Rigoni’s effort.
The Catalans could have added more goals were it not for Edgar Baldia’s heroics. The Elche keeper made a string of fine saves including the one to stop Fransisco Trincao’s header.
However, Balde was finally beaten by substitute Riqui Puig, who netted the winner in the final minutes of the game after a precise cross from De Jong. The goal also marked the young Spaniard’s first with the Barca shirt.
Barca have now moved to the third position in the table and will look to maintain their rhythm in the coming weeks.
De Jong has unarguably become Koeman’s best player in this season as the former Ajax star has netted four goals and four assists so far. The Dutch midfielder’s influence in the middle of the park has been growing with each passing game.