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With a hard-fought 2-0 victory over Cádiz on Sunday evening at the Camp Nou, Barcelona remain unbeaten in 2023 and have recovered their eight-point advantage atop the La Liga standings.
The Catalans again labored against a club that understands how to play tough in the second half, but they kept a clean sheet at home to earn three more points.
An Entertaining Cadiz Clash
The first half at Camp Nou was surprisingly entertaining and open due to a Cádiz team that executed its game plan well and posed a serious challenge to Barça.
Cádiz consistently found a way out of difficulties despite a strong offensive effort from the Blaugrana, who passed the ball fast and were aggressive on the wings to find space inside the box.
Cádiz posed a threat with the ball as well, requiring little possession to fire a couple shots on goal and pose a threat from set pieces. Marc-André ter Stegen was never seriously threatened, but the Barça defense had to work much harder than anticipated. They were fortunate not to fall behind early when Roger Mart’s goal was disallowed for a narrow offside.
It appeared that the first half would be entertaining but scoreless, but Barca delivered two big blows in the final minute: a fantastic individual effort by Ferran Torres led to Sergi Roberto’s opening goal, and Sergi Roberto assisted Robert Lewandowski’s second goal in the final minute.
Barça found themselves with a comfortable lead at halftime, but Cádiz was playing well and the home team had work to do in the second half to complete the victory.
Cádiz, which trailed Barça by two goals at halftime and had nothing to lose, came out in the second half with an aggressive mentality, pushing higher up the field and committing a large number of bodies forward in an effort to cause issues for the Barça defense. Roger had a second goal for the evening disallowed due to a foul committed by Ter Stegen in the buildup.
Ferran continued to cause problems on the wing, while Lewandowski nearly scored an acrobatic goal but hit the crossbar instead.
Late Opportunities for the Visitors
The Blaugrana entered the last 15 minutes still needing a third goal to avoid any late drama, but they were forced to endure and Ter Stegen was forced to make a pair of incredible saves to prevent Cádiz from scoring. The visitors had a number of late opportunities on crosses into the box and even hit the post, but tonight was not their night.
Barça earned three vital points on a night when they were pushed to the limit by a Cádiz team that played exceptionally well and deserved at least one goal for its efforts.
Barca missed Pedri dearly as things got out of hand in the second half, and they can credit Ter Stegen and Andreas Christensen for keeping a clean sheet despite the rest of the team’s awful defensive performance.
But, three points are all that Barca will feel is important ahead of the team’s Europa League fixture at Old Trafford this week.