Lewandowski nets 2, Barcelona goes 15 points clear of Madrid
Barcelona's Robert Lewandowski reacts after missing a chance to score during a Spanish La Liga soccer match between Elche and Barcelona, at the Martinez Valero Stadium in Elche, Spain, Saturday, April 1, 2023. (AP Photo/Alberto Saiz)

BARCELONA, Spain (AP) — Robert Lewandowski scored twice in Barcelona's 4-0 win at last-place Elche on Saturday as the Catalan club opened up a 15-point lead atop the standings in pursuit of its first Spanish league title in four years.

Lewandowski opened the scoring in the 20th minute and added Barcelona's third goal in the 66th to take his league-leading tally to 17 goals in his first season in Spain.

Ansu Fati doubled the lead in the 56th and Ferran Torres rounded off one of Barcelona's most comfortable victories of the campaign in the 70th.

Barcelona picked right up where it left off before last week's international break when it beat Madrid 2-1 in the league to deal what is looking like a decisive blow to its rival's title defense.

Second-place Madrid plays Real Valladolid on Sunday.

Barcelona will try to beat Madrid again on Wednesday in the second leg of their Copa del Rey semifinal match. Barcelona won the first leg 1-0 in the capital.

Saturday's game was the debut of Argentine Sebastián Beccacece as Elche's fourth coach of the season.

The hosts looked like a team that has only won twice in 27 rounds. Elche finished the game 58 points behind Barcelona — 13 to 71 — and, more importantly, 14 points from safety. It was without first-choice striker Lucas Boyé, who served a one-game suspension.

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