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Barcelona vs Cádiz, La Liga: Final Score 2-0, Barça leave it late, win tough home opener

A valuable win against a tough opponent and three crucial points


Barcelona are off and running in the new La Liga season and picked up their first win in their home opener at the Montjuïc Olympic Stadium, thanks to a 2-0 triumph over Cádiz on Sunday evening. The defending champions needed plenty of patience against a very well-organized Cádiz defense, but continued to play their football until they found the winning goals at the death to bring them some much-needed positivity after a tough week.


Xavi Hernández picked a surprising lineup with five midfielders and Frenkie de Jong playing as a false center-back with full freedom to bomb forward and create overloads in the middle. Xavi’s strategy resulted in a lot of possession and good ball progression between the lines, and the ball constantly found Ilkay Gündogan, Pedri and Gavi in positions where they could threaten.

But Barça’s most creative players struggled with the final pass that could truly unlock the Cádiz defense on the ground, so most of the Blaugrana’s more dangerous moments came on crosses into the box: Pedri missed an easy header after a cross from the right, and Jules Kounde and Robert Lewandowski also had good chances on crosses from the left.

Barça’s best chance of the half, however, came during a beautiful passing sequence through the middle that ended with Lamine Yamal one-on-one with Conan Ledesma, but the Cádiz goalkeeper made a fantastic save to deny the 16-year-old his debut Barça goal on his first start for the club.

At halftime Barça still had not scored a La Liga goal after the opening 135 minutes of their season, but the performance was good enough to provide hope for a breakthrough in the second half.


Barça had a strong start to the final period, moving the ball quicker and forcing the Cádiz defense into more uncomfortable positions. Yamal remained the home team’s most dangerous player with his aggressive approach and a few shots on goal that troubled Ledesma, but the rest of the team continued to struggle with the final ball and resorted to even more crosses that did very little to create true danger.

Xavi’s brother Òscar Hernández sent two attackers on with 25 minutes to go, with Ansu Fati and Ez Abde looking to add more pace and skill to the left side of the Catalans’ attack. Both youngsters saw plenty of the ball and tried to run at defenders, but neither had a real impact as we reached the second half hydration break prior to the final 15 minutes.

Abde almost scored a screamer just after the hydration break with a powerful strike that forced a great save from Ledesma, and Barça really started to push going into the final 10 minutes plus stoppage time.

The Blaugrana kept pushing and finally found the breakthrough: Gündogan played a gorgeous through ball to find Pedri’s run in the box, and the Spaniard fired it home to give Barça the lead. The hosts nearly doubled the lead through Ansu Fati, but the goal was ruled out for a very narrow offside on Robert Lewandowski in the buildup.

Cádiz made attacking substitutions and threw plenty of bodies forward looking for the equalizer and had a couple of half-chances, but the Blaugrana backline dealt well with the danger and still had enough time to add a second: after a long pass from Marc-André ter Stegen and a header from Lewandowski in midfield the ball fell kindly to Ferran Torres who came off the bench to find the bottom corner, score his first goal of the season and seal the victory.

The final whistle came to give Barça their first win of the season in a game that was just as difficult as expected. Barça are still not at their best but there were encouraging signs in the performance, and the chemistry that Pedri and Gündogan seem to be developing could be pretty special once they have full understanding of each other’s games.

Two games, four points, two clean sheets. With everything going on, it could certainly be worse.

Barcelona: Ter Stegen; Kounde, Christensen (Eric 79’), De Jong; Yamal (Ferran 85’), Romeu (Roberto 79’), Gündogan, Balde (Abde 68’); Gavi (Fati 68’), Pedri; Lewandowski

Goals: Pedri (82’), Ferran (90’+4)

Cádiz: Ledesma; Carcelén, Hernández, Fali, Hernández; Emeterio (Sobrino 68’), Alcaraz; Alejo (Machís 68’), Fernández (Osmajic 86’), Ramos (Negredo 86’); Martí (Mari 86’)

Goals: None

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