Barcelona vs Elche
Barcelona's Lionel Messi (C) celebrates his second goal with teammate Munir El Haddadi (L) and Jordi Alba during their Spanish first division soccer match against Elche at Nou Camp stadium in BarcelonaReuters

Barcelona started their new La Liga campaign with a 3-0 win over Elche despite being reduced to ten men at the Nou Camp.

A brace from Lionel Messi and a strike from exciting youngster Munir El Haddadi proved to be enough as Elche failed to create enough chances despite their numerical advantage after Javier Mascherano's sending off in the 43rd minute.

Barcelona's summer signings Claudio Bravo, Jeremy Mathieu and Ivan Rakitic, along with academy graduates Rafinha Alcantara and Munir, were all handed their debuts by new boss Luis Enrique as he looked to get a positive result in his first competitive fixture.

The game started with Barcelona dominating possession and the hosts soon created their first chance in the 15th minute as Rakitic fired an effort just wide of the target.

Eight minutes later, the Catalan club came even closer to breaking the deadlock as teenager Munir, who was very impressive during Barcelona's 6-0 win in a friendly game against Leon, rattled the crossbar with an impressive effort from the left side of the area.

The hosts again came close to opening the scoring in the 33rd minute as they hit the post for the second time through Andres Iniesta.

Moments later, Dani Alves got a good opportunity to open the scoring when he managed to connect with a cross on the half volley. However, his effort was wide of the target.

Continued pressure finally cracked the Elche defence as Barcelona broke the deadlock through Messi in the 42nd minute. Sergio Busquets slid in to intercept a sloppy pass from an Elche defender, and the ball went towards Messi, who, after controlling the ball in one touch, swept it into the bottom corner of the net.

However, the hosts' joy was short-lived as their player Mascherano was sent off only a minute later. The referee was left with no choice but to show the former Liverpool man a straight red after he chopped down Garry Rodrigues, who was through on goal.

The red card forced Enrique to sacrifice forward Rafinha and bring in Marc Bartra in his place after the break.

Despite being reduced to ten men, though, Barcelona showed no signs of apprehension as Munir doubled their lead right at the start of the second half.

Rakitic sent a long pass towards the 18-year-old forward, who, after waiting for the ball to drop, flicked an effort into the far corner of the net.

Finally, Messi sealed the three points for Barcelona by grabbing his second in the 63rd minute.

The Argentina captain showed sheer class to dribble his way past four Elche defenders before finding the net with a low effort into the bottom corner of the net.

Other results: Malaga 1-0 Athletic Bilbao, Granada 2-1 Deportivo La Coruna, Sevilla 1-1 Valencia, Almeria 1-1 Espanyol, Eibar 1-0 Real Sociedad, Celta Vigo 3-1 Getafe, Levante 0-2 Villarreal.

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