Barcelona remain unbeaten in 2023 and have restored their eight-point lead at the top of the La Liga table thanks to a hard-fought 2-0 win over Cádiz at the Spotify Camp Nou on Sunday night. The Catalans once again struggled against a team that knows how to play them tough and suffered quite a bit in the second half, but kept another clean sheet at home to get three more points.
The first 45 minutes were surprisingly fun and open at Camp Nou thanks to a Cádiz side that executed a good gameplan and gave Barça a real test in the opening period.
The visitors defended deep as expected, and despite a good attacking performance from the Blaugrana who moved the ball quickly and were aggressive on the wings to find spaces inside the box, Cádiz constantly found a way to get out of trouble.
Cádiz were also a threat with the ball, not needing much possession to fire a few shots on target and bring some danger on set pieces. Marc-André ter Stegen was never in real trouble on goal, but the Barça defense had to work a lot harder than expected and were lucky to not go behind early when a goal from Roger Martí was ruled out for a narrow offside.
It seemed as though we were destined for a fun but goalless first half, but Barça delivered two massive blows in the dying moments of the half: a brilliant piece of individual play by Ferran Torres led to the opening goal by Sergi Roberto, who then assisted Robert Lewandowski for Barça’s second strike in the final 120 seconds.
All of a sudden Barça found themselves with a comfortable lead at halftime, but Cádiz were playing well and the home team still had work to do to finish the job in the second half.
Cádiz had nothing to lose down two goals at halftime and came out with an aggressive attitude in the second half, pressing higher up the pitch and committing plenty of bodies forwards to try and cause problems to the Barça defense. They once again came very close to scoring, but Roger had a second goal on the night ruled out for a foul on Ter Stegen in the buildup.
Barça had less possession and were comfortable staying more compact at the back and trying to score a third on the counter, and Ferran continued to create trouble on the wing while Lewandowski nearly scored a very acrobatic goal but the ball hit the crossbar instead.
The Blaugrana entered the final 15 minutes still in need of a third to avoid any late drama, but they had to suffer and Ter Stegen was required to make a couple of sensational saves to keep Cádiz from scoring. The visitors had several late chances on crosses into the box and even hit the post, but it just wasn’t their night.
The final whistle came to give Barça three valuable points on a night where they were pushed to the limit by a Cádiz side that played very well and deserved at least one goal from their efforts. Barça sorely missed Pedri when things got out of control in the second half, and they can thank Ter Stegen and Andreas Christensen for keeping a clean sheet in what was a poor defensive performance from the rest of the team.
But three points are three points, and Cádiz deserve credit for their performance. Old Trafford is next, and hopefully the team will play much better in England.
Barcelona: Ter Stegen; Kounde, Christensen, Eric, Balde; Gavi, De Jong (Kessie 68’), Roberto; Ferran, Lewandowski (Raphinha 74’), Fati (Alarcón 85’)
Goals: Roberto (43’), Lewandowski (45+1’)
Cádiz: Ledesma; Carcelén, Hernández, Fali, Arzamendia; Escalante (Alejo 62’), Alcaraz (Emeterio 69’); Bongonda (Sobrino 62’), Fernández, Ocampo (Lozano 62’); Roger (Ramos 74’)