La Liga: De Jong leads Barca to Elche win without Messi

Barcelona overcame the absence of Lionel Messi as the Catalans struck through Frenkie de Jong, who later set up the second for Riqui Puig on Sunday.

Riqui Puig of Barcelona celebrates with team mate Antoine Griezman after scoring their side's second goal during the La Liga Santander match against Elche on Sunday   -  GETTY IMAGES

Barcelona overcame the absence of a suspended Lionel Messi to earn a 2-0 win away to struggling Elche in La Liga on Sunday thanks to goals late in each half from midfielders Frenkie de Jong and Riqui Puig.

Barca went ahead in the 39th minute with what looked to be an own goal from Elche's Diego Gonzalez but Dutchman De Jong sprinted to get the final touch just before the ball crossed the line.

AS IT HAPPENED | Elche vs Barcelona Highlights: De Jong, Puig score as Barca beats Elche 2-0

Elche winger Emiliano Rigoni missed a great chance to level for the home side in the second half but was denied by yet another heroic save from Barca keeper Marc-Andre ter Stegen.

The Catalans struggled to find a second to ease their nerves until substitute Puig headed in a cross from De Jong in the 89th minute to score his first La Liga goal and clinch a fourth consecutive win for Barca, who are third in the table.