Elche 0-4 Barcelona: Lewandowski double helps LaLiga leaders thrash rock-bottom hosts
Robert Lewandowski's latest Barcelona double helped take them another step closer to the LaLiga title with a 4-0 win over rock-bottom Elche on Saturday.
The Poland international's goals either side of an Ansu Fati finish helped the Blaugrana cruise to a comfortable victory at Estadio Manuel Martínez Valero.
Ferran Torres added a fourth as Xavi's visitors moved 15 points clear of second-placed Real Madrid in the table to further underline their domestic dominance this season.
For Sebastian Beccacece, Elche's fourth different boss of the season, it was a chastening reminder of the task at hand.
Barca pressed hard for an opener from the start and were duly rewarded 20 minutes in when Lewandowski turned in a Ronald Araujo header from Jordi Alba's free-kick.
But Lewandowski missed a golden opportunity to double the visitors' lead before the break with a flying header, as did Jules Kounde when he saw Edgar Badia save his shot.
The Blaugrana were more ruthless in the second half, though.
Fati capped off a fluent breakaway move with a cool, low finish to put Barca two up in the 56th minute
Lewandowski was then on hand 10 minutes later, latching onto a Gavi throughball and dispatching a neat finish, before Torres brought down the forward's looping pass outside the box for a fine strike of his own.
That added a last touch of gloss to a dominant performance that edges Barca closer to silverware.
What does it mean? Barca close in on glory
With just over a quarter of the league season left, it seems inconceivable that the Blaugrana might let it slip from here, with a healthy double-digit lead over their nearest rivals.
Those results do not come without the performances on the pitch, however, and even though a win was to be expected against their hosts, it will still be celebrated as the latest step towards success.
Lewandowski continues rich vein of form
Though the desired European success failed to materialise despite the veteran striker's arrival this term, he cannot be accused of letting them down on the home front.
His double here saw him move to 17 league goals for the season, and also sees him nab the rare feat of a brace in both league fixtures against a single opponent in one campaign.
Beccacece brings latest change to Elche
It is a losing start for the Argentinian, who follows Francisco, Jorge Almiron and Pablo Machin as permanent bosses at the club this season.
Against the league leaders, though, it was to be expected, and he can be proud of a performance that actually saw them attempt more shots with 15 to Barca's 12.
Key Opta facts
- Robert Lewandowski is the top scorer in LaLiga 2022-23 with 17 goals scored, four more than any other player (Getafe's Enes Unal has scored 13).
- Elche (four goals) are the second opponent Robert Lewandowski has scored in two games against in LaLiga this season after Cadiz.
- Robert Lewandowski has opened the scoring seven times in LaLiga 2022-23, more than any other player in the competition this season.
- Barcelona have earned 71 points after 27 games in LaLiga 2022-23 (W23 D2 L2). Applying three points per win, only two teams have ever bettered this record at this stage of a LaLiga season: Real Madrid 1960-61 (72 points – W23 D3 L1) and Barcelona 2010-11 (74 points – W24 D2 L1).
- Barcelona have won 12 away games in LaLiga this season, the highest record in the top five European leagues this season alongside Napoli in Serie A (also 12).
Barca host Madrid in the second leg of their Copa del Rey semi-final on Wednesday, while Elche travel to Osasuna next Saturday.