Two flashes of Leo Messi, who with the two of tonight already adds eighteen points and he is the top scorer of the championship, and a goal from Jordi Alba, all of them in the second half, gave the Catalans victory against Elche (3-0) to cut the advantage of the two Madrid teams in LaLiga.
Messi, with two goals and one assist, unblocked a match that had the same aroma as the last and saved his team, which is now five points behind Atlético de Madrid (with one game less) and two points from Real Madrid.
And that Barcelona was a team without a soul during the first half. Ronald Koeman’s team seemed ‘groggy’ after the hits against Paris Saint Germain and Cádiz. Predictable in attack and weak behind. Past your lack of confidence, anyone can cough you, look into your eyes and on many occasions even over your shoulder.
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Koeman left five players who drew against Cádiz; Write made four changes with respect to the team that beat Eibar, but Barça continued with a flat football in which only one player showed up in the first half: Francisco Trincao.
The Portuguese was the only one who encouraged the attack of the Catalans. He was the only one who overflowed, he was the only one who finished with intention, he was the one who created danger in a team that seems to have already lowered their arms.
The Catalan team had problems in construction. Pjanic does not give agility to the game, de Jong did not have arrivals from behind, Pedri barely overflowed; and Messi? Accompanied by Braithwaite I wait for some overflow, Some individual play for the bench to jump, but it did not seem like his night today, until in the second half he again demonstrated what he is capable of and decided the balance for his team.
To all this must be added the structural problems in defense. They played in the axis Piqué and Umtiti, a couple that was a starter not so long ago, and who had not played together since last June. Mingueza occupied the right lane and Alba, the left.
But at the first change (minute 5), Lucas Boyé already warned with a close shot before the doubts of the centrals. Before, Trincao, in the first attack action of the match, put Edgar Badia to the test.
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The same protagonists stirred the game in the 20th minute. This time, the Portuguese made a great individual move, with a couple of dribbles, but finished where Badía was.
As the minutes passed, Elche felt more comfortable. Barça did not arrive and Escribá’s men played looser to the point that they had a good arrival through Pere Milla in 44.
Koeman was right by leaving a sterile Pjanic in the bank and looking for the overflow of Dembélé on the break. Barça was more recognizable and practically in the first action of the second half, in a great combination between Braithwaite and Messi, the Catalans scored.
It was the Argentine who scored 1-0 in the 48th minute, after receiving an assist from the Danish heel. But as has happened so many times this season, Barcelona did not have continuity, they went back to their old ways and the party reduced its revolutions again.
With half an hour ahead, Escribá put Fidel and Morente into play, looking for an opportunity, but who reappeared was Messi, after a great action by De Jong.
The Dutchman signed a prodigious slalom, which remembered those he offered in his time at Ajax, and assisted Messi, who with mettle defined against five opponents and the goalkeeper (2-0, min. 69).
Four minutes later, Messi served over Braithwaite, another of the highlights this Wednesday, who gave his second goal assist of the game, this time for Alba to close the game.
Before the end, Griezmann, who came out for the Danes, had a couple of very clear chances to increase the scoring account, but the Frenchman is still denied before the opposing goal.