Spanish La Liga
Barcelona3Elche0

Barcelona 3-0 Elche

Lionel Messi
Barcelona have scored in their last 53 home league games, equalling their third best run of all-time

Lionel Messi scored twice as 10-man Barcelona eased to an opening day win over Elche in Luis Enrique's first La Liga match in charge.

Debutant Munir and Andres Iniesta hit the bar for the hosts before Messi drilled in low from an angle.

Seconds later Javier Mascherano was sent off for a professional foul on Garry Rodrigues, but Munir doubled the lead with a chip soon after the break.

Messi slotted in his second after beating three defenders.

The Argentine was on the losing side in the World Cup final against Germany in July but, despite only playing one pre-season friendly, looked refreshed and ready to play a key role in a new-look Barca's title assault.

Former Barcelona midfielder Enrique replaced Tata Martino as manager in the summer, after the Argentine presided over the club's first season without a major trophy since 2007-08.

Barcelona's key summer purchases
NameFromFee (estimated)
Luis SuarezLiverpool£75m
Ivan RakiticSevilla£18m
Jeremy MathieuValencia£15.8m
Thomas VermaelenArsenal£15m
Andre Ter-StegenBorussia Monchengladbach£10m
Claudio BravoReal Sociedad£10m
Total: £143.8m

Enrique has been busy in the transfer market, including signing Luis Suarez from Liverpool, although the Uruguayan is not available after being banned for four months for biting Italy's Giorgio Chiellini at the World Cup.

The new manager has also brought in Ivan Rakitic from Sevilla for £18m and Thomas Vermaelen from Arsenal for £15m in an attempt to freshen up the squad while Barca's Fifa-imposed transfer ban was still suspended.

Enrique handed debuts to Rakitic, goalkeeper Claudio Bravo, centre-back Jeremy Mathieu and young attackers Munir and Rafinha.

Forward Munir, 18, a graduate from Barcelona B, almost made an explosive introduction as he fired a fierce shot against the upright after a neat turn on 20 minutes, before Andres Iniesta's 20-yard strike followed suit.

For all their problems, Barcelona would have defended their league title last season with a win over Atletico Madrid in the last match of the campaign.

And it was their established star, Messi, who broke the deadlock three minutes before the break, driving into the Elche box before shooting low into the far corner.

What looked like being a routine victory though was complicated a minute later as Mascherano was caught out by a long ball and, after cynically hauling down Garry Rodrigues, shown a straight red card.

The impressive Munir ensured the numerical disadvantage was not to prove too problematic, flicking Rakitic's pass over goalkeper Tyton a minute into the second half.

Elche only escaped relegation by a point last season and were left helpless as Messi waltzed past three defenders before sliding the ball into the corner of the net from the edge of the area.

Cat at Barcelona
Barcelona's La Liga opener was disrupted by the appearance of a black cat on the Nou Camp pitch
Lionel Messi
Messi has scored more goals than any other player in Europe's top five leagues in 2014, with 22
Lionel Messi
Messi has also provided the most assists - 57 - in La Liga since the start of the 2010-11 season
Munir
Debutant Munir scored his first goal in La Liga with his first shot on target in the competition

Line-ups

Barcelona

  • 13Bravo
  • 22Dani Alves
  • 14MascheranoBooked at 44mins
  • 24Mathieu
  • 18Alba
  • 4Rakitic
  • 5Busquets
  • 8IniestaSubstituted forSergiat 78'minutes
  • 12RafinhaSubstituted forBartraat 45'minutes
  • 10Messi
  • 31El HaddadiSubstituted forPedroat 67'minutes

Substitutes

  • 2Montoya
  • 6Xavi
  • 7Pedro
  • 15Bartra
  • 20Sergi
  • 25Masip
  • 29Ramírez

Elche

  • 25Tyton
  • 2Suárez
  • 4Rodríguez Lombán
  • 18Pelegrín
  • 21Albácar Gallego
  • 14Alonso MartínSubstituted forGiménez Candelaat 54'minutes
  • 10CorominasSubstituted forFajrat 66'minutes
  • 24PasalicBooked at 55minsSubstituted forGonzález Moralesat 81'minutes
  • 6Mosquera
  • 11Mendes Rodrigues
  • 22Cristian de Jesus

Substitutes

  • 1Herrera Yagüe
  • 5Cisma
  • 7Ñíguez Esclapez
  • 8González Morales
  • 19Giménez Candela
  • 20Fajr
  • 32Martínez Lorente
Referee:
Fernando Teixeira Vitienes
Attendance:
68,105

Match Stats

Home TeamBarcelonaAway TeamElche
Possession
Home72%
Away28%
Shots
Home12
Away3
Shots on Target
Home6
Away0
Corners
Home3
Away1
Fouls
Home11
Away13

Live Text

Match ends, Barcelona 3, Elche 0.

Full Time

Second Half ends, Barcelona 3, Elche 0.

Attempt saved. Pedro (Barcelona) right footed shot from the centre of the box is saved in the bottom left corner. Assisted by Lionel Messi with a through ball.

Jonathas went off injured after Elche had used all subs.

Corner, Elche. Conceded by Jeremy Mathieu.

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

Foul by Pedro Mosquera (Elche).

Delay over. They are ready to continue.

Delay in match Jonathas (Elche) because of an injury.

Dangerous play by Ivan Rakitic (Barcelona).

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

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

Foul by Adrián (Elche).

Substitution

Substitution, Elche. Adrián replaces Mario Pasalic.

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

Foul by Jonathas (Elche).

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

Foul by Pedro Mosquera (Elche).

Substitution

Substitution, Barcelona. Sergi Roberto replaces Andrés Iniesta because of an injury.

Attempt saved. Pedro (Barcelona) right footed shot from outside the box is saved in the centre of the goal. Assisted by Andrés Iniesta.

Foul by Lionel Messi (Barcelona).

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

Substitution

Substitution, Barcelona. Pedro replaces Munir El Haddadi.

Hand ball by Munir El Haddadi (Barcelona).

Substitution

Substitution, Elche. Faycal Fajr replaces Coro.

Delay over. They are ready to continue.

Delay in match Andrés Iniesta (Barcelona) because of an injury.

Goal!

Goal! Barcelona 3, Elche 0. Lionel Messi (Barcelona) left footed shot from the centre of the box to the bottom left corner.

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

Foul by Damián Suárez (Elche).

Jordi Alba (Barcelona) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by Álvaro (Elche).

Foul by Munir El Haddadi (Barcelona).

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

Hand ball by Damián Suárez (Elche).

Attempt saved. Marc Bartra (Barcelona) right footed shot from the centre of the box is saved in the centre of the goal. Assisted by Andrés Iniesta.

Booking

Mario Pasalic (Elche) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

Andrés Iniesta (Barcelona) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by Mario Pasalic (Elche).

Substitution

Substitution, Elche. Álvaro replaces José Ángel.

goal

Scores, Results & Fixtures

Sunday 24th August 2014

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