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No Messi but Barcelona ease to La Liga win

Riqui Puig scored his first Barcelona goal in a 2-0 win at Elche on in La Liga as the Catalans eased to victory even without the suspended Lionel Messi.

The young midfielder Puig wrapped up a comfortable victory for Ronald Koeman’s side late on, after Frenkie de Jong had put them ahead.

Without Messi, who was serving a suspension after being sent off in the Spanish Super Cup final, Barca lacked creativity and barely conjured any chances in the first half, before De Jong’s close-range goal in the 39th minute.

Emiliano Rigoni missed a fine chance for Elche, when through on goal in the second half, but Puig wrapped up the win in the 89th minute with a header from De Jong’s cross.

The win takes Barcelona third, seven points behind league leaders Atletico Madrid, who were in action later on Sunday against Valencia.

Elche, 19th, played extremely defensively and have now not won in 13 league matches.

Earlier Osasuna had earned a 3-1 win over Granada to climb to 17th, one point from the drop zone.

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