A much-changed Barcelona secured a 4-0 victory away to Cadiz on Saturday evening.
A slow first half preceded strikes from Frenkie de Jong and Robert Lewandowski, both of whom tapped home from close range to secure the victory, before a lengthy delay due a medical emergency saw play paused for almost an hour.
Medical staff managed to evacuate the supporter in question before play resumed, after which Ansu Fati and Ousmane Dembele added a third and fourth goal.
Barcelona looked dangerous early on and Raphinha saw a strike cannon back off the post inside the first ten minutes.
The hosts did well to hold on and even posed a threat of their own, with their high press causing a handful of nervy moments for Barcelona at the back, although they never really looked like creating anything of note and instead focused on restricting the amount of chances on offer to Xavi’s side.
Shortly before the interval, VAR chose not to intervene after Alex Balde went down in the box under duress from Ivan Alejo, leaving Xavi shaking his head as the referee blew for half time.
Cadiz were the stronger side in the early stages of the second half and Fede San Emeterio will have been frustrated not to have made more of a ball that dropped his way in the box, firing over the bar when he should have done better.
Just seconds later, Barcelona went down the other end and opened the scoring. Gavi’s cut-back was palmed into the path of De Jong, who tapped home into an empty net to put the Blaugrana ahead. Xavi celebrated by bringing Lewandowski, Dembele and Pedri off the bench. Not bad.
Unsurprisingly, Barcelona looked more fluid with those three on the field and Sergio Busquets wasn’t far off adding a second as he sent his long drive narrowly over the bar.
The second did come 25 minutes from time and the sight of Lewandowski peeling away in celebration came as little surprise. The Pole started the move and pounced on the scraps from two yards out to remove any doubt about the victory.
However, the result became meaningless in the late stages of the game as a medical emergency in the crowd paused proceedings in the 82nd minute. Players from both sides left the pitch after 20 minutes and returned once it was deemed safe to do so to play out the remaining stages.
Ansu Fati added a third before the full-time whistle, finishing off a nice move from Lewandowski, before a glorious solo goal from Dembele brought things to a close.
GK: Marc-Andre ter Stegen – 6/10 – Some nice play out from the back but was barely needed all game.
RB: Hector Bellerin – 5/10 – Clearly needs more time to adapt. Off the pace going forwards and offered very little at either end. Did make a solid pass for the second goal.
CB: Ronald Araujo – 6/10 – His passing left a little to be desired but Araujo was as solid as ever at the back. Dealt well with Cadiz’s pressure.
CB: Gerard Pique – 7/10 – Did well on his first league appearance of the season. Had plenty of fans enjoying his performance through gritted teeth.
LB: Alejandro Balde – 7/10 – Got forwards wherever possible and had to do twice as much attacking as normal to make up for Torres’ disappearing act in the first half.
DM: Sergio Busquets – 6/10 – Did his job of pulling the strings from deep without really making anything happen.
CM: Gavi – 8/10 – Just does so much at both ends of the field. Adores the dirty work and goes right down the other end to pick a pass, just as he did for the opener. A joy to watch.
CM: Frenkie de Jong – 8/10 – Played very high up to try and make things happen and did a pretty decent job of it. Nice movement for the opener.
RW: Raphinha – 6/10 – Can’t fault his effort but Raphinha struggled to break down Cadiz’s stubborn defence. Nice play for De Jong’s opener.
ST: Memphis Depay – 5/10 – Dropped deep to try and help the build-up but inadvertedly left Barcelona without a focal point.
LW: Ferran Torres – 4/10 – Clearly tried hard but everything he did seemed to go wrong. Couldn’t figure out when to keep the ball and when to pass.
SUB: Pedri (57′ for Gavi) – 7/10 – Some great touches and vision.
SUB: Ousmane Dembele (57′ for Torres) – 8/10 – Instantly made a difference with his agility and dribbling. Stepped things up a level. Glorious goal.
SUB: Robert Lewandowski (57′ for Memphis) – 8/10 – Offered the focal point that his side were looking for. Unsurprisingly got his goal just moments after coming on.
SUB: Ansu Fati (72′ for Raphinha) – 6/10 – Had one excellent dribble and a routine goal to score.
SUB: Marcos Alonso (78′ for Balde) – N/A
Manager: Xavi – 5/10 – Rested his top players but changed nothing to his system and that made for tough watching at times. His only tactical adjustment was bringing on his best players.