Barcelona continue to move up in La Liga

Memphis Depay of Barcelona shooting to goal during the La Liga Santander match between Elche CF and FC Barcelona at Estadio Manuel Martinez Valero on March 6, 2022 in Elche, Spain. 


Barcelona have displayed their offensive depth in La Liga, resorting to goal-hungry substitutes to salvage a victory and maintain their momentum.

Ferran Torres and Memphis Depay came off the bench to score second-half goals as Barca rallied to beat Elche 2-1.

It's wonderful to be able to have all these forwards on the bench," Barcelona coach Xavi said.

Today they made the difference for us.

The victory moved the Catalan giants up a spot to third place, level on points with fourth-place Atletico Madrid, who beat Real Betis 3-1.

Barcelona finished the round in the top three for the first time since the opening round.

It was a crucial win to allow us to keep fighting, Xavi said.

We are on the right track.

Moving even higher will prove more difficult.

Barca are 15 points behind league leaders Real Madrid while Sevilla are seven points ahead of Xavi's side -- although they do have a game in hand.

The hosts opened the scoring just before halftime through Fidel Chaves.

Barcelona equalised on the hour mark with a close-range goal by half-time replacement Torres.

Depay, who came on for Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, scored the winner by converting an 84th-minute penalty for handball.

Joao Felix scored twice and Thomas Lemar added another goal as Atletico eased past Betis.

It was the third league win in a row for Diego Simeone's champions, who trail Barcelona on the head-to-head tiebreaker.

We are going through a good moment again, Felix said.

Our attitude has been good and the results are showing.

Betis have dropped two places to fifth place after a second consecutive league loss.

Elsewhere, goalkeeper Luca Zidane, son of Zinedine Zidane, made a couple of decisive blunders as Rayo Vallecano lost 2-0 at third-bottom Cadiz with goals from Ruben Alcaraz and Oussama Idrissi.

Zidane let a weak header get past him for Cadiz's opener and then failed to hold on to the ball after a routine cross that led to the second goal.

Mid-table Celta Vigo conceded an equaliser in the 87th but got the winner with a penalty converted by Iago Aspas seven minutes into stoppage time in a thrilling 4-3 win over relegation threatened Mallorca.

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