Elche 0 vs 4 Barcelona - Match Review & Player Ratings
Luis Enrique has earned a reputation as being quite a "risk-taker" during his spell at Barcelona. He decided to leave out nearly all of of Barça's star names ahead of their second leg clash with Elche - but to be fair, it wasn't much of a risk. Barça were already 5-0 up after their demolition of the 19th-placed La Liga outfit in the first leg.
Enrique elected to use B-team players Gumbau and Adama Traore from the start, leaving young Halilovic with a place on the bench. Munir and captain Pedro completed the forward line, with birthday-boy Marc Bartra starting alongside Mathieu at the centre of defence.
And it didn't take Barça long to settle into the match. There may have been a drastic change in personal, but as always, the philosophy remained. A few incisive passes around the edge of the box allowed Adriano the first clear chance of the match - but he could of scuff his effort wide of the post.
The breakthrough came shortly after though. Barça were awarded a free-kick from distance. And Jeremy Mathieu thundered home his first Barcelona goal, with a truly sublime strike, leaving the goalkeeper with absolutely no chance. The floodgates had opened...
The second goal was really something quite special too. Barça were completely dominating proceedings, with Rafinha running rings around Elche's midfield, and Adama holding the keys to Elche's defence. Then Martin Montoya teed up Sergi Roberto, who took one touch with his left foot before lashing home an unstoppable drive into the top left corner.
Clever footwork and control inside the area from young Munir drew the foul which led to the penalty - which Pedro swept home with ease. Barça headed into the break with a three goal lead on the night, and a whopping eight-goal advantage on aggregate.
The second half was slightly quieter than the first. Elche became slightly more adventurous, forcing a key interception from Mathieu to deny a certain goal. Ter Stegen was involved a little more too, recovering a few loose balls from his usual sweeper-keeper position. Adama Traore was unlucky not to score after seeing his close-range effort whistle just past the past.
Luis Enrique decided to change things around after an hour. Bringing on Douglas for Montoya, and substituting the impressive Adama, for Alen Halilovic - making his first team debut. And Halilovic didn't take long to leave his mark. Unfortunately,he left his mark on the left-hand post, instead of producing a goal. But it was a truly magic strike from the 18-year old, struck from all of 20-25 yards out.
The game rather petered out during the last period of the match. Ter Stegen was finally forced into a save towards the end of the match, but that wasn't the final bit of action. Adriano completed the rout in stoppage time, with a stooping header from inside the area. The match had already been won in the first leg, but Barça killed off the round of 16 stage in style - they're play Atletico Madrid in the Quarter Final.
ter Stegen - 9.5 - Wasn't really put under any sustained pressure. But kept his concentration right up until the final minute where he was forced into a save. And it's all about what he does with the ball. For a goalkeeper, this man really is unique. And I mean unique. It's not just the control, it's the distribution too. Complete with the accuracy, and a simply incredible range of passing. At just 22, in goalkeeping terms he's still a baby, but boy has this man got potential.
Montoya - 7 - Solid match from Montoya, which is usually the way to describe his performances. Didn't really do anything special, but didn't really make a mistake either. Offered a slight threat going forward, and was only caught out of position on one occasion. Assisted Roberto's fine long-range strike.
Bartra - 8 - The birthday-boy celebrated his special day with a clean sheet. Wasn't put under a great deal of pressure, but when he needed to make a tackle - he did. Always great to see him out on the pitch.
Mathieu - 8 - Like Bartra, wasn't forced into an awful lot of challenges. But can celebrate his first Barcelona goal - and what a great goal it was. Not sure he'll get to take many more free-kicks mind you when the big guns return to the side.
Adriano - 7 - As always with Adriano, you get 100% effort. Played most of the match in Elche's half, always trying to make the overlap. Gave away the ball a little too often, but finished the night on a high with a goal from a strong header.
Gumbau - 7 - Everyone wanted to see Samper, but credit to Gumbau, he did very well. Calm and assured on the ball, didn't make any mistakes. Can't really fault his performance.
Sergi Roberto - 9.5 - My man of the match. We're seeing a completely different Sergi Roberto here. This is a confident, assured player, who's trying to prove a point. And he has tonight. His goal summed up his performance, excellent. He was hard-working, accurate with his passing, and clever in the final third. It's really pleasing to see Roberto finally showing his full potential - and long may it continue!
Rafinha - 9 - Would've been my second pick for man of the pitch. Rafinha really was excellent. Tonight he showed exactly what he's made of. He's got magical feet, balance and awareness. He's a player who's really naturally gifted. He can receive the ball anywhere on the pitch, and do something special with it. He picked some excellent passes tonight, completing a dominant midfield duo with Roberto.
Adama - 8.5 - Played for just over an hour, and caused Elche problems each time he received the ball. Didn't look at all phased by the step up to the first team, and physically battered his way through the game. His pace, strength and balance were all highlighted tonight with a fine display. Unlucky not to score too.
Pedro - 7 - Dispatched his penalty with ease, becoming the Copa del Rey's second top goalscorer. But didn't really do much else of note during the match. As always with Pedro though, you get the work rate, and another goal will continue to help his confidence.
Munir - 6 - Excellent play to win the penalty, but like Pedro, didn't really offer much else. Slightly subdued performance from Munir, as he continues to drift through matches. Needs a goal soon to recapture some of that confidence we saw at the start of the season.
Halilovic - 7 - Made an instant impact after coming on as a substitute - crashing a long-range curler against the post. Did he best to get involved in play after that too, but the game had already died away. Many more appearances to come though for Halilovic - we'll be seeing plenty more of this man.
Douglas - 7 - Didn't really do much after he was introduced, but an excellent cross set up Adriano's goal - and Douglas' first assist for Barcelona.