Barcelona vs Elche live score, updates, highlights and lineups: Lewandowski has two goals already
The final set of La Liga matches before the September international break sets up quite nicely for Barcelona. The Blaugrana can go top of the table on Saturday with a match against the last-place club, and potentially remain there if Real Madrid cannot remain perfect and beat rivals Atletico in the Madrid derby on Sunday.
Barcelona have won every one of their La Liga matches except for a 0-0 draw against Rayo Vallecano to start the season. And they only suffered their first loss of 2022/23 in the UEFA Champions League at Bayern Munich on Tuesday. But it wasn't for lack of scoring chances: Robert Lewandowski, who is leading the La Liga scoring charts, could not find his goal touch against his former club.
Elche have greater concerns in the goal-scoring department. They only have two to their name after five matches, and instead conceded four goals in each of their past two matches. They will try their best to frustrate Barcelona as they almost succeeded in doing on two occasions last season, losing by only one goal in their two meetings with the winner coming inside the final five minutes in each instance.
Sporting News is following the Barcelona-Elche match live and providing live score updates, commentary.
78th min.: SUB Elche. Center-back Pedro Bigas picks up what looks like a groin injury and has to come out. Diego Gonzalez replaces him.
75th min.: Chance Barcelona. Scoop pass by Pedri to Ansu Fati and his first time cross across the six-yard box just misses Raphinha, who was crashing the opposite post. Nearly a fourth.
73rd min.: YELLOW to Barcelona. It's shown right away to Ferran Torres who just came into the game and committed a dangerous tackle to win the back. About five minutes earlier Nico Fernandez of Elche also got a yellow for a challenge on Lewandowski.
72nd min.: SUB Barcelona. And after that chance, Lewandowski is out of the game. His replacement, Ferran Torres, will be eager to get his season going in these final 20 minutes.
71st min.: Chance Barcelona! It's Lewandowski who had a chance for a hat trick! Gavi fed him the ball and it got caught in his feet, but he still got a shot off and it finished high of the target.
68th min.: SUBS Elche. Josan (for Tete Morente on the right wing) and Ezequiel Ponce (for Lucas Boye at center forward). We'll see if Ponce can get his team's first shot on target in this game.
59th min.: SUBS Barcelona. Ansu Fati (for Memphis Depay), Raphinha (for Ousmane Dembele), and Hector Bellerin (for Eric Garcia) are in the game. Lewandowski stays in there on the hunt for more goals. Bellerin will be the right-back, with Jules Kounde moving to center-back.
53rd min.: SUBS Elche. Nico Fernandez (for Fidel wide left) and Domingos Quina (for Raul Guti in central midfield) are now in the game.
48th min.: Goal Barcelona! It's Lewandowski again. A cross into the six yard box from the right by Ousmane Dembele squirts out to Lewandowski who runs onto it and places where the goalkeeper was not. That was so easy. It's goal No. 8 for Lewa.
46th min.: The second half is underway. Gavi is in for Franck Kessie, who was on a yellow and living dangerously.
Halftime: It was all Barcelona from the start, especially after the red card for denial of an obvious goal-scoring opportunity. Elche were overwhelmed with the waves of attacks and all the Barcelona numbers in and around the box. Hard to believe there won't be more goals coming in the second half.
44th min.: Disallowed goal for Barcelona. Pedri scores, but he was offside on the touch by Lewandowski in front of goal. The Elche resistance seems to have let up — Barcelona are getting into the box with ease.
41st min.: Goal Barcelona! This time it's Memphis Depay who gets the ball with his back to goal in the box. And the Dutch striker just spins the defender John on his back and blasts it with his left into the roof of the net. He schooled him. It's 2-0 Barca.
34th min.: Goal Robert Lewandowski! The ball goes from the right side to the left with left-back Alejandro Balde cross into the six-yard box, where Lewandowski swept it in on the doorstep.
The VAR rules there was no offside on the play:
28th min.: For the second time in the last 10 minutes Franck Kessie once again makes incidental contact with the face of an Elche player and the visitors want a second yellow shown to the Barcelona midfielder. He's risking it, but the referee keeps the cards in his pocket.
26th min.: Barcelona chance. On the heels of their fourth corner of this first half, Barcelona's De Jong fires from outside the box again and it's another save by goalkeeper Edgar Badia.
23rd min.: Elche goalkeeper Edgar Badia with two stops in a matter of a couple of minutes. First it was Frenkie de Jong firing from distance, and then it was Memphis Depay dancing in the box and firing on goal, but the 'keeper kicked it away for a corner.
Barcelona need more intensity, urgency, and speed in their movements. De Jong is the player who seems to have the killer pass in him today. Depay is eager to create and go one-on-one.
13th min.: RED CARD to Elche! Captain and center-back Gonzalo Verdu is sent off after he tackled Robert Lewandowski who was sprung in behind by Frenkie de Jong and he was through on goal. It was an American football tackle that stopped him. Elche down to 10 men.
5th min.: YELLOW CARD to Barcelona. Franck Kessie gets it for a stray arm into the face of Lucas Boye whose nose is bloodied. Elche's Argentine forward is getting some more treatment on the sideline.
1st min.: Barcelona kick off the match in their traditional colors. Elche are in white and their 5-4-1 formation is immediately clear. Barcelona goalkeeper Marc-Andre Ter Stegen is the captain for today's match.
5 mins from kickoff: Turns out Ousmane Dembele spent the night at the hospital for the birth of his daughter, but he starts anyway. He insisted with Xavi that he play.
20 mins from kickoff: Big day for Franck Kessie in the heart of the Barcelona midfield. He makes his first La Liga start with only 37 minutes of La Liga action with cameos off the bench.
90 mins from kickoff: Based on the history between these two teams, it seems like the only real suspense for this match is just how many goals Barcelona will score against Elche.
Xavi Hernandez has a full-strength Barcelona side at his disposal and there are five changes from the starting lineup that faced Bayern. In the back, Alex Balde returns at left-back alongside center-back Eric Garcia. Frenkie de Jong gets the nod over Gavi in midfield, where Franck Kessie replaces Sergio Busquets. Regular winger Raphinha makes room for Memphis Depay.
As if things weren't bad enough for Elche, reports in Spain say that a stomach virus has swept through the locker, affecting several players. Pere Milla has still not recovered from it and will sit out. Elche manager Francisco Rodriguez, who is going with a five-man backline, will also have to do without Omar Mascarell and Pol Lirola due to injury. Barcelona loanee Alex Collado, who has one of Elche's goals on the season, will begin the match on the bench.
UK: The match will be on LaLigaTV in the UK which can be streamed on Premier Sports' Player and Amazon Prime Video.
USA: All La Liga matches stream on ESPN+ in the USA.
Canada: TSN has the rights to La Liga in Canada and will be making the game available on its streaming platforms.
Australia: All the action from La Liga is streamed on Optus Sport in Australia.
We know how these David vs. Goliath matches typically go: It's one-way traffic, and sometimes big clubs have their way with the minnows and goals are flowing (see Barcelona vs. Viktoria Plzen which finished 5-1). Other times it's a real struggle for the giants (see Barcelona's scoreless draw vs. Rayo Vallecano to start the La Liga season).
So betting goal totals, sides, or spreads (handicaps) is tough to do when the game sets up like this, and the odds are often not attractive enough for the risk. Props and parlays are usually the way to go.
Since it's clear that Barcelona are the better side and should win the match, but it's unclear whether they will be able to bury Elche under an avalanche of goals, they're superior enough to be at least a goal better in each half. Real Betis (3-0 winners) and Villarreal (4-0 winners) have been able to win both halves against Elche this season, and both happened to come at home.