Luis Enrique’s Barça got their league campaign off to a great start at the Camp Nou this evening, brushing aside Elche 3-0, despite playing the second half with ten men, after Mascherano was shown red just before the break. With Neymar injured, Luis Enrique handed Munir the chance to start and the youngster repaid the boss’ faith with a good all round performance – including a shot against the woodwork- and Barça’s second goal, sandwiched between two typically brilliant Messi efforts.
It was clear from the start that Elche had come to defend and Barça took the game to them from the off, with Messi in particular looking sharp. Munir hit the post after a lovely turn on 22 minutes and Iniesta also rattled the bar with a shot 10 minutes later. Just as it looked as if Barça would be frustrated in their opening half of league action, Leo Messi popped up on 43 minutes, drifting past three or four defenders and firing low to the keeper’s left to open the scoring. Almost from the kick off, Elche tried to hit Barça on the break and as Gonzales broke behind the home defence, Mascherano collided with him and the ref judging him the last man, showed the Argentinean red.
With Bartra on for Rafinho after the break, Barça hit Elche almost immediately , when Rakitic chipped the Elche defence and Munir made no mistake to open his La Liga account. Elche had to open their lines a bit now, but that just gave Barça more space and Messi took advantage on 63 minutes, dancing through the defence to round off an excellent performance and ensure the opening three points of the campaign.