LiveBarcelona v Elche as it happened

Summary

  1. FT: Barcelona 3-0 Elche
  2. Lionel Messi scores twice
  3. Javier Mascherano is sent off
  4. Munir on target on his debut
  5. Real Madrid and Atletico Madrid play on Monday

Live Reporting

By Jonathan Jurejko

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And that brief chat about the French league leads me nicely into saying 'au revoir' for tonight.

Barcelona have shown they mean business with a comfortable win against a poor Elche side and on Monday it is the turn of their La Liga title rivals. Reigning champions Atletico Madridgo to Rayo Vallecano, while European kings Real Madrid host newly-promoted Cordoba.

As always we will be providing live updates here on the BBC Sport website - see you then!

Full-time

Nantes 0-1 Monaco

French Ligue 1

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Over the Pyrenees and about another 900km north from Barcelona, French heavyweights Monaco's losing start is over. The principality side edge past Nantes 1-0, thanks to Radamel Falcao's first-half strike. Nantes were previously unbeaten but Serge Gakpe's missed penalty proves costly.

BBC

BBC Sport's Azi Farni: "These were the scenes outside the 5,000-capacity Ipurua stadium after Eibar celebrated their first ever La Liga game with a 1-0 win over neighbours Real Sociedad. Eibar are the smallest team, with the smallest budget, in the division and one of the few clubs in Europe's top leagues that are debt-free. The party atmosphere started seven hours before kick-off among the 27,000 strong population of this town, just imagine the scenes when Real Madrid and Barcelona come to town."

Barcelona 3-0 Elche

That thumping win puts Barcelona at the top of the fledgling La Liga table (yes, I know it doesn't mean anything after one game). But the point is that Luis Enrique's new charges have earned the weekend's biggest win, with his old club Celta Vigo, Granada, minnows Eibar and Malaga the other teams to have taken maximum points from their opening match.

Barcelona 3-0 Elche

AP

As usual two-goal hero Lionel Messi will undoubtedly hog the headlines, but new kid on the block Munir should also be guaranteed plenty of column inches. The 18-year-old had a memorable debut, bagging the second in a bright display.

Barcelona 3-0 Elche

Well I say perfect, but there was one black spot in Luis Enrique's first game in charge. Javier Mascherano's straight red card on the stroke of half-time weakens an already-thin Barca defence for their upcoming matches.

FULL-TIME

Barcelona 3-0 Elche

The referee gives his whistle one final toot and that means it is all over. New Barcelona, same scenario...Lionel Messi rules the roost. Perfect start for the Catalans.

Barcelona 3-0 Elche

Barca knock the ball around with consummate ease around the halfway line, then decide they fancy another late foray forward. Pedro is keen to grab a goal but is again denied by the legs of Elche keeper Tyton.

Barcelona 3-0 Elche

Elche forward Jonathas grimaces in plenty of pain as he is helped towards the Nou Camp tunnel. At least he can have dibs on a hot bath before the rest of the Elche players pile into the dressing room. Three minutes of stoppage time until their misery is over.

Join the debate at #bbceurofooty

Olayiwola Gbenga: Never expect Elche to put up any surprise against even 9-man Barca.

Shaykhspeare: Messi already showing how badly he wants the Ballon d'Or back. How will the not fully fit Ronaldo respond tomorrow?

Paul Beard: Munir scores one goal and is the future of football. The last future of footy (Bojan) was on the bench for Stoke today.

Barcelona 3-0 Elche

A brief lull as Elche forward Jonathas receives treatment deep into Barcelona territory. That's probably the nearest he's been to the home net. A loud chorus of 'Luis Enrique' rings around the cavernous Nou Camp. The boss nods back in appreciation.

Final five

Barcelona 3-0 Elche

The home fans crank up the noise level as their team near the finishing line. They're happy. Luis Enrique is happy. Everyone with a Barcelona connection is happy.

Stat Attack

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Barcelona have scored in their last 53 home league games and they have equalled their third best run of all-time (1995-1998).

Barcelona 3-0 Elche

Barca left-back Jordi Alba tears up that left touchline like a greyhound chasing a hare out of the traps. He continues to pound up the whitewash as the clock ticks into the final stages, only to see a couple of deliveries fail to find a Barca shirt.

Barcelona 3-0 Elche

Seems like Andres Iniesta might have picked up a knock. One of the Barca medical staff gets out a bag of crushed ice (the equivalent of a Sunday League player's bag of frozen peas) to wrap around the 30-year-old Spain star's left knee.

SUBSTITUTION

Barcelona 3-0 Elche

The Barca fans are back on their feet. Another standing ovation greets the exit of midfield magician Andres Iniesta, who has pulled plenty of strings for the hosts. His ageing legs are replaced by the more youthful ones of Sergi Roberto.

Barcelona 3-0 Elche

Barcelona are still not finished. Pedro's electric pace is not what you want to see as a tiring defender - and Elche will be tiring despite having the luxury, ahem, of an extra man. The Spain forward wriggles clear but see his powerful shot palmed clear by Elche keeper Tyton.

Join the debate at #bbceurofooty

Wale ibraheem: Barca is thrashing Elche with 10 men so what will happen with when they play with full squad.

Shohidur Rahman: Mascherano was one of the players of the World Cup playing as a defensive midfielder and Enrique put him centre back. Clever....

Barcelona 3-0 Elche

You know it's not your night when you struggle to even take a throw-in properly. That's what happens to hapless Elche defender Edu Albacar. The ball slips and slides out of his greasy grasp and the referee blows for a foul throw. Shameful. My under 10s manager used to make us do ten press ups for making such a schoolboy error.

Stat attack

Barcelona 3-0 Elche

AP

Munir El Haddadi scored his first goal in La Liga with his first shot on target in the competition.

SUBSTITUTION

Barcelona 3-0 Elche

But Munir won't be helping himself to another slice of the goal pie. The whole Nou Camp rises to its feet to acclaim the 18-year-old debutant - the latest in a long line of La Masia talent. Pedro races on in his place.

Barcelona 3-0 Elche

The only question now is...how many do Barca want to score tonight? There's at least a couple more left in this one.

GOAL

Barcelona 3-0 Elche - Lionel Messi

As soon as Lionel Messi was fed the ball from Dani Alves on the edge of the Elche box you knew - just knew - what was going to happen. The elusive Argentine skips past one away defender, cuts inside past three more then fires across keeper Tyton into the bottom corner. Textbook Messi.

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Barcelona 2-0 Elche

PA

Elche look well out of their depth here. They knock the ball around with little conviction in the Barca half before handing possession straight back to the dominant hosts. Comfortable evening for new Barca boss Luis Enrique.

Barcelona 2-0 Elche

Seconds later, Barca's Marc Bartra - yes, the centre-half Marc Bartra - finds himself in the centre forward position. He races onto Ivan Rakitic's pass to be confronted by the whites of the eyes of Elche keeper Przemyslaw Tyton. The tall Polish keeper spreads himself to brilliantly block and stop a seemingly-certain third goal.

Barcelona 2-0 Elche

But that change serves to leave Elche short in numbers at the back. Dani Alves is given acres of space down the right, whipping in a low cross that is eventually cleared.

SUBSTITUTION

Barcelona 2-0 Elche

Elche gaffer Fran Escriba decides it is time for a change. Alvaro is the man given the nod replacing the ineffective Jose Angel in an attacking switch.

Barcelona 2-0 Elche

I must remind you that Elche have a man advantage. Because if you were watching this then you would not be able to tell. Barca continue to dominate possession and territory as the visitors struggle to pin their hosts back.

Barcelona 2-0 Elche

Wow. What a start to the second half to the 10 men of Barca. Now they have got to be home and dry....

GOAL

Barcelona 2-0 Elche - Munir

Not heard of Munir El Haddadi? You have now. The 18-year-old youth team graduate impressed in the first half and now has a debut goal to cap a night he will never forget. Munir, as he is known, almost nonchalantly flicks Ivan Rakitic's lofted pass over Elche keeper Tyton with the outside of his boot and into the away net. Remember the name....

AP

KICK-OFF

Barcelona 1-0 Elche

Back under way at the Nou Camp. And there's a murmur around the ground as they digest defender Marc Bartra coming on as a half-time replacement for attacker Rafinha.

Join the debate at #bbceurofooty

John McEnerney: Let's see if "Nou Barca" can finish the minnows of Elche with 10 men! Test of character first time out for Luis Enrique's men!

HALF-TIME

Nantes 0-1 Monaco

French Ligue 1

Monaco fans will be breathing a little easier as their Colombian striker Radamel Falcao gives them the lead on the stroke of half time against previously unbeaten Nantes. Serge Gakpe missed an earlier penalty for the hosts.

Monaco have lost their opening two league matches and, having lost James Rodriguez to Real Madrid this summer, it is about time they had a bit of good news. Still 45 minutes to go though.

Eibar make history

Despite that numerical disadvantage, Barca are still on course to become the fifth side to take maximum points on the opening weekend of the Spanish season.

If they do bag all three, then they will stand alongside minnows Eibar, who earlier won the first La Liga match in their 74-year history. Javi Lara's brilliant free kick condemns visitors Real Sociedad to a 1-0 defeat, in front of little over 5,000 fans.

Eibar - roughly the Spanish equivalent of Crawley - earned two consecutive promotions in as many years to rise from the third tier to the top flight.

HALF-TIME

Barcelona 1-0 Elche

Bright spots for Barca? Messi is looking razor sharp. Munir appears to be an exciting prospect. Luis Enrique has got them passing crisply.

Negatives? Those defensive frailties remain. And they still can't unlock packed defences with the ease that they used to.

HALF-TIME

Barcelona 1-0 Elche

Elche have an opportunity to make Mascherano and Barcelona pay even more, but then waste their free-kick by firing high into the stand behind Claudio Bravo's goal. And that's virtually the last action of the first half. Time for Luis Enrique to furiously scribble over the tactics board in the home dressing room.

RED CARD

Barcelona 1-0 Elche - Javier Mascherano

Ah. Maybe it isn't going to be as straightforward as we thought. Seconds after Messi's opener, his Argentine compatriot Javier Mascherano is caught out by a long ball forward and cynically hauls down Elche striker Garry Rodrigues as he races through on goal. No option for referee Fernando Teixeira other than to brandish the red card. Bath time for Mascherano.

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GOAL

Barcelona 1-0 Elche - Lionel Messi

Reuters

Bingo! Barcelona finally get the goal they deserve through - you know who - Lionel Messi. It is vintage Messi as he turns outside the Elche box, gets his head down, takes four neat touches, then fires into the bottom corner. Should be straightforward from here for the home side.

Barcelona 0-0 Elche

Barca have done everything but score. Messi and Munir combine again inside the Elche area, but the latter is guilty of trying to overplay. The 18-year-old could shoot from the left channel but decides to roll the ball across the box....to no-one.

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Barcelona 0-0 Elche

Our statistics tell us that Barcelona have enjoyed a whopping 81% possession. It is like a training-ground session of keep-ball. Teenage debutant Munir wriggles into space on the left, cutting back to Messi, but a green and white shirt nips in before the Argentina captain to hack clear.

Barcelona 0-0 Elche

And seconds later, another home chance goes begging. A well-worked corner ends in Dani Alves - who I'm pleased to report has ditched the grey hair for a darker shade - whipping a low shot just past the post. Barcelona are knocking heavily on the door.

HITS THE WOODWORK

Barcelona 0-0 Elche

Again Barcelona probe, again the frame of the goal comes to Elche's rescue. Andres Iniesta sweetly connects with Lionel Messi's square pass, only to see his 20-yard effort cannon back off the bar.

Barcelona 0-0 Elche

Here he is again. Ivan Rakitic is warming to his new surroundings, driving forward before having his ankles clipped by Elche's Mosquera. The referee has a word with the away midfielder, but decides not to write his name down in the notebook. Lucky boy.

Barcelona 0-0 Elche

We had not seen much of Ivan Rakitic before the Croatian pops up unmarked in the right channel of the Elche box. Wearing the number four shirt left by Chelsea-bound Cesc Fabregas, Rakitic's delivery is a poor one and is easily cleared by the away defence.

Stat Attack

Barcelona 0-0 Elche

PA

New Barca midfielder Ivan Rakitic, a summer signing from Sevilla, made a league-high seven assists from set plays last term.

HITS THE WOODWORK

Barcelona 0-0 Elche

And we nearly get one! Barca debutant Munir - an 18-year-old Spanish youth international of Moroccan descent - shows exactly why he has gained the trust of new boss Luis Enrique. He latches on to a perfectly-weighted through ball, takes a cushioned touch, then unleashes a rising left-foot thunderbolt. Elche keeper Przemyslaw Tyton breathes a sigh of relief after being saved by the angle of the woodwork.

Barcelona 0-0 Elche

Former Arsenal defender Thomas Vermaelen looks pretty bored as he sits in the Nou Camp main stand watching his new side. The Belgian centre-back misses out on his debut because of a hamstring injury. He, like the rest of us, needs a goal to liven things up....

Barcelona 0-0 Elche

The home fans seem pretty pleased with their side's start. A huge roar greets Jeremy Mathieu's interception on the halfway line as Elche dare to venture out of their own half. Debutant home keeper Claudio Bravo has not even had a kick yet.

Barcelona 0-0 Elche

Elche, who avoided the drop by a single point last season, have barely had a kick. Barca ramp up the tempo as Messi slides another ball into the danger zone, before left-back Jordi Alba fires wide from distance with his weaker right foot.

Barcelona 0-0 Elche

Lionel Messi is again at the centre of another bright attacking move by the hosts. The Argentine slices open the Elche backline with a lobbed throughball to marauding right-back Dani Alves. But the Brazilian springs forward a touch early and is flagged offside. Messi is feeling in the mood tonight.

Reuters

Barcelona 0-0 Elche

Barcelona, as you would expect, are dominating possession in the opening moments. They are passing the ball sharply as Elche throw all 11 men behind the ball. Lionel Messi tricks his way past a defender on the right, clipping up a cross towards the far post, only to see an Elche head clear the danger.

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Nick: Not convinced by Barca's improvements. Vermaelen not enough at CB, and swapping Fabregas and Sanchez for Rakitic and Suarez is a small improvement if any. Mathieu might be among the worst signings of the summer. £20m for a 30-year-old left-back who is pretty poor at centre-back? No thanks.

Barcelona 0-0 Elche

After that brief interruption, the match is restarted as Barca look to bag an early opener. Young debutant Rafinha is picked out by a Lionel Messi pass, but is quickly crowded out by the Elche defence.

Barcelona 0-0 Elche

Finally the cheeky beggar is scooped up by a steward and taken off the pitch to huge cheers from his adoring public. Like the Anfield Cat and the Blackburn Chicken, I'm sure the Nou Camp Kitten will have its own Twitter account within seconds...

Getty Images

Barcelona 0-0 Elche

Less than a minute has gone on the clock and play is stopped by an intruder....a black cat! The feline is loving its moment in the limelight, scampering around the Nou Camp pitch and evading a number of challenges to be caught. The Nou Camp is lapping it up....

AP

Kick-off

Barcelona 0-0 Elche

The Nou Camp is packed to the rafters. The players are ready. Game on!

Barcelona v Elche (20:00)

Luis Enrique looks relaxed as he walks that familiar walk down the Nou Camp tunnel, cheerily whistling along to the Barca club anthem. But the ex-Celta Vigo boss knows that he must deliver after the Catalan giants' first trophyless campaign in six seasons.

"That is a nice challenge," he says. "Barcelona cannot afford another season without results. Last year was not good and we have to forget it. We have got a clean slate to move forward."

Barcelona v Elche (20:00)

BBC

While the five new faces starting for Barcelona tonight are guaranteed a warm welcome, they won't receive anything like the rapturous reception that will be given to Luis Enrique.

The 44-year-old, who took over from the ill-fated reign of Tata Martino, is not a new face. The ex-Spain midfielder is a hugely popular figure following a distinguished playing career at the Nou Camp between 1996 and 2004. Now he's back....