Barcelona fight back to win at Elche as revival under Xavi Hernandez continues – European round-up | Football News

Barcelona fought back to earn a 2-1 win at Elche on Sunday as a late penalty from Memphis Depay ensured they continued their revival after a difficult start to the season.

​​​​Having fallen as low as ninth back in November, when former coach Ronald Koeman was sacked, Xavi Hernandez’s revitalised Barca have climbed into La Liga’s top three with 48 points, leapfrogging Real Betis in third place.

Mid-table Elche opened the scoring right before half-time when Pedri tried to clear the ball but gifted a perfect assist to Fidel Chavez, who out-ran Dani Alves and scored with an angled shot just inside the right post.

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Former Manchester City forward Ferran Torres scored Barcelona’s first goal

Ferran Torres scored the equaliser in the 61st minute after great play from Ousmane Dembele down the right flank. His cross was deflected by Jordi Alba and the former Manchester City forward, in the right place at the right time, turned it home from close range.

Barca’s winner came after the video assistant referee spotted a handball from an Elche defender inside the area and Depay rifled his penalty into the top-left corner.

Elsewhere, relegation-threatened Cadiz boosted their survival chances with a 2-0 win over Rayo Vallecano to move within one point of 17th-placed Granada.

Ligue 1: Crucial wins for St Etienne and Troyes in relegation fight

Denis Bouanga scored the only goal as St Etienne climbed out of the relegation zone with a 1-0 home win over Metz in Ligue 1 on Sunday, while Troyes claimed a crucial victory in their bid for survival away at bottom side Bordeaux.

Bouanga had a first-half goal ruled out by the Video Assistant Referee for handball, but there was no doubt about his effort on 52 minutes as a poor clearance landed at his feet and he thumped a shot into the back of the net.

Metz, who are second-bottom in the table, thought they had a penalty in the closing stages as Falaye Sacko committed a clear foul on Farid Boulaya in the box, but referee Jeremy Stinat overturned the decision after an infringement in the build-up was spotted.

Troyes did their chances of staying up the world of good after a 2-0 win at ailing Bordeaux.

They had a bit of luck early on when Mama Balde’s penalty was saved by home goalkeeper Gaetan Poussin, who then knocked the ball into the net with his trailing leg for an own goal.

The visitors added a second with five minutes remaining having been awarded a second spot-kick, this time converted by South Africa international Lebo Mothiba, who has recently returned from almost two years on the sidelines with injury.

Rennes moved up to fourth with a 2-0 victory over Angers, their third win in succession but a sixth straight loss for their opponents that has seen them tumble down the table.

Benjamin Bourigeaud and Gaetan Laborde scored the goals for Rennes, who are now a point off the Champions League qualification places.

They have leapfrogged Strasbourg, who were held to a third successive draw by Reims. Jean-Ricner Bellegarde put Strasbourg in front, but Jens Cajuste equalised for the home side with six minutes remaining.

Nantes also kept their Champions League hopes alive with a 2-0 win at home to Montpellier. Goals from Randal Kolo Muani and Willem Geubbels sealed the three points. They climb to sixth, five points behind third-placed Marseille.



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