Barcelona quickly dispelled any early doubts they could repeat their 100-point La Liga campaign with an incredible scoring display at Nou Camp on Sunday, defeating Levante 7-0.
Lionel Messi and Pedro each netted two goals, and the Catalans scored six times in the first half alone.
In that blistering first half, Barcelona fired off 11 shots, with seven of those on target. The Catalans also dominated the ball for a 78 percent possession advantage, and didn’t allow Levante a single shot in the first 45 minutes.
The match escalated quickly as Barcelona showed off their pinpoint passing. Pedro found Xavi at the top of the box, who then coasted it to Cesc Fabregas in front of the net for a touch pass to a wide open Alexis Sanchez for the goal inside the first three minutes.
Amongst a crowd of nearly 74,000, the Catalans pushed forward and Messi followed up nine minutes later with his first goal of the season. He converted a left-footed shot to the center of the net off an assist from Pedro.
Dani Alves punched in his goal in 24th with a right-footed shot inside the box, recovering a block from Levante keeper Keylor Navas for a 3-0 lead as the Frogs appeared completely overwhelmed.
Pedro's first goal came in the 26th minute, with Messi perfectly timing his through ball past the backline and the Spanish slinging a low shot across the net for the goal.
Later, Levante defender Pedro Lopez conceded a penalty in the area to Adriano, but Messi took the shot, netting his second goal in the 42nd. Xavi ended the first half barrage in the 45th by working the give-and-go with Fabregas, and flicking the ball into the net for a 6-0 advantage. Fabregas would total two assists on the day.
Gerardo Martino kept his stars in at the start of the second half, but slowly worked in his substitutions. Sanchez came of in the 64th for Neymar’s debut, and Iniesta settled in for Messi at the 71st. Neymar nearly scored his first goal with the Catalans, but his attempt was thwarted by Navas, who ended the match with six saves. The Brazilian instead was shown a yellow card in the 88th for a rough foul on defender Juanfran.
Levante did manage to get off four attempts in the second half, with one on goal. But their frustrations also got the better of them, as Levante also drew three yellows.
Currently covering NBA, NFL, MLB, along with Real Madrid and Barcelona, focusing on trades, controversy, and injury updates. Joined IB Times in August 2012.