Barça put four more goals past Elche on Thursday night to add to the five from last week at the Camp Nou and set up a mouth-watering quarter final clash with Atlético Madrid.
Luis Enrique may well have sent out a side full of B team youngsters and fringe players, but the team looked composed, sharp and hungry from the off, with Rafinha, Munir and Adama as well as captain Pedro all threatening early on. Elche were chasing shadows as Barça zipped the ball around and probed for openings and it looked like they’d found one when Rafinha put Adama through with a defence splitting pass on 19 minutes only for a cynical foul from the Elche captain Edu Albácar to bring the young winger down.
With Messi, Xavi, Neymar and Suarez missing, it was Mathieu who stepped up to take the resulting free kick which he beautifully curled into the top corner for his first ever Barça goal. Elche were unable to react and two goals just before half time from Sergi Roberto, with a beautifully struck drive from the edge of the box and Pedro from a penalty after Munir was brought down sent the players in for the break with a well-deserved three goal lead.
The pace dropped off in the second half and Luis Enrique took the opportunity to bring on Douglas and Halilovic for Montoya and Adama. There were some lovely bits of skill from Adama and Halilovic, who hit the post – and even from keeper Ter Stegen who controlled a cross on the edge of the box with his chest – and even though the tie was already settled at 8-0 the team kept their discipline and shape and Elche never looked likely to get back into the game. Finally, Adriano rounded off the scoring in injury time stooping to head home a Douglas cross.
Attention switches now to next Wednesday’s quarter final first leg when Atlético Madrid are back at the Camp Nou and before that, this weekend’s trip to La Coruña to face Deportivo