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Deportivo La Coruña
August 18, 2013
• 1:00 PM
• Camp Nou, Barcelona
Referee: Carlos Del Cerro Grande
• Attendance: 73812
A. Sánchez 3'
L. Messi 12', 42'
Dani Alves 23'
Pedro 26', 73'
That's all we have time for, but I encourage you to exchange your attention to Real Madrid's season opener against Real Betis, which we will also be covering on Goal. I've been Simon Harrison, I hope you've enjoyed this evening's coverage of Barcelona's 7-0 win over Levante, and I will see you all again next time.
Neymar was introduced in the second half for his first taste of La Liga action, and didn't look out of place. Creating several chances and beating his full-back on several occasions from the left, Barca look to have another exciting wide option to add to their ranks.
Navas and Barral were the only two Levante players to deserve their wages, contributing formerly with a few top saves, while the latter carved out two good second half chances for the trailing visitors.
Two goals from Messi, two from Pedro and solitary goals for Dani Alves, Alexis Sanchez and Xavi respectively. A comprehensive and encouraging win for Blaugrana, though they'll undoubtedly face stronger competition than Caparros' outfit.
The full time whistle blows! The perfect start for Barcelona under the stewardship of Martino, and Lionel Messi has already started scoring. Barcelona 7-0 Levante, the final score.
90' + 1'
Two minutes of stoppage time have been awarded. Probably due to the brief stoppage for treatment for the Levante goalkeeper. Valdes is forced into his first real save of the game, claiming a well struck Ivanschitz free-kick.
A few minutes left to play, and a debut goal for Neymar is looking unlikely! Promising signs from him, however, his pace looks dangerous on the left flank. With Pedro, Sanchez and Neymar at their disposal, La Liga's right-backs will have a torrid season.
Yellow Card Neymar
No openings for Barcelona, with the only real occurrence of the last two minutes being Neymar picking up a yellow card for a mistimed challenge on Juanfran.
NEYMAR! He's been heavily involved in the last five minutes! Driving from deep, the former Santos man is found nicely with a chip from Fabregas, taking the ball on his chest before trying to hook an effort towards the back post. He doesn't get the connection quite right, and Navas claims.
Good play from Neymar again! The Brazilian cuts inside from the left, before playing a great reverse pass to feed in Tello, but nothing comes of the opportunity. He's beginning to look as though he can slot into this Barcelona set-up.
Barral has looked lively in the second half! The Levante number seven does well to beat Busquets, before powering past Pique. The centre-half has to nudge the striker cynically to the ground, and the away side win a free-kick. If nothing else, Navas and Barral have looked good tonight.
Great play from Neymar! The ball is switched to his left flank, and he takes the ball in the stride, accelerating quickly to beat his full-back! He gets to the byline, cuts it back to Tello, but the Spaniard sees his effort blocked!
BARRAL! The Levante man grabs his side's first and second opportunity of the game! He managed to outmuscle Mascherano nicely, before switching the ball onto his left foot, but instead of finding the far corner, he scoops an effort way over Valdes' crossbar.
Poor distribution from Neymar at the moment, whenever the debutant gets the opportunity to play the ball, he seems to take a second too long. Two of his passes in quick succession have been well blocked, which won't be to the taste of the home fans.
Yellow Card Xumi
Now Pedro is withdrawn to a great reception, it seems that nobody is destined to get a hat-trick tonight! Barca seem happy to rotate their options, not risk anybody picking up an injury, and giving a fringe player like Tello a run out.
Another corner won by Barca. A nice switch from Pique finds Neymar unmarked on the left, before the Brazilian flicks the ball inside to find Iniesta. Iniesta drives into the box, but has possession stolen from him. It hasn't quite clicked for Neymar yet.
GOOOOAL! PEDRO! The Spaniard follows up to score his second of the game! Harrying from Neymar and Iniesta robbed Pedro Lopez of the ball, before Fabregas drove through on goal, forcing Navas into a save. Pedro taps home for an easy second goal.
Thankfully for Levante, Barcelona look to make another change - at least, it would be a good thing if Iniesta wasn't the man to be replacing Messi. The Argentine leaves without a hat-trick, but resting him is probably a good idea for Martino.
CHANCE! Last ditch defending prevents a dangerous cross from reaching Neymar in the centre, but the deflection from the Levante man could have gone anywhere. Busquets goes down in the area, claiming a push, but the referee tells him to get up and get on with the game.
Yellow Card Héctor Rodas
Another free-kick on the edge of the area! Fabregas is brought down once again, this time by Pallardo, and Messi is once again stood over the ball. Xavi takes instead, but the outcome is the same, he hits the wall.
Still goalless in the second half, Levante will be taking heart from this - even if Barcelona have taken their foot off the gas a little bit. Navas has been impressive, however, if nothing else Caparros can be encouraged by his 'keeper's performance.
MESSI! He's struck the wall yet again, he shakes his head in disbelief. Pallardo looked to get struck directly in the face by the set piece effort, and looks rather dazed by his experience, it must be said.
Neymar's first touch of a ball for Barcelona in a competitive fixture is cut short, as the Brazilian is muscled out of possession! He thinks that he has been fouled, but Barca continue, before Fabregas is brought down on the edge of the penalty box.
Nabil El Zhar
ADRIANO! Two shots within the space of ten seconds for the Brazilian, but Navas is equal to both of them! The Levante keeper has been the best player on the pitch for the visitors, by some margin.
MESSI! Breaking from Barral's opportunity, Messi weaves inbetween two challenges, but can only pass a weak effort easily within reach for the sprawling Navas.
Great challenge from Mascherano! Levante string together a move, shifting the ball nicely from left to right, but just as Barral looks to line up a strike, Mascherano slides in perfectly to deflect the ball back onto Barral, before it trickles back to the Barcelona keeper.
PEDRO! CLOSE! Space opens up for the winger, around 25 yards from goal, and he tries his luck! It whistles narrowly wide after taking a deflection, that was exceeding close. Barcelona can't quite turn this possession into a second-half goal.
PIQUE! The centre-back makes a forward run, and almost scores! After releasing the ball down the right hand side, the centre-back continues his run, before receiving the return pass as he raced into the area! He attempts to control with his chest, but it looks to strike an arm and it escapes him.
Half chance for Messi! Consecutive corners for Barca, and they're beginning to dominate once again. Pique then goes close! A looping back post delivery from Alves finds Pique, but he can only cushion a volley into a defender!
PEDRO! Great play from the little winger! Travelling at speed, Pedro exchanges a one-two with Fabregas, before Pedro Lopez just robs the ball from the toe of the Spaniard, as he looked to cut inside!
MESSI! Good save from Navas! Pedro, Messi and Fabregas combine excellently on the edge of the box, before the latter scoops a delightful ball over the stationary Levante defenders, in search of Messi. The Argentine almost lifts the ball over the onrushing Levante 'keeper, but Navas claws it away.
Considering the six goals they conceded in the first half, this second half performance hasn't been quite as bad. Levante are not quite as deep as they were, although they appear to be sporting a defensive quintet. Negative, but it might be what they need to do to keep Barca at bay.
BARRAL! That's Levante's first half chance! A near post corner is flicked on by the new signing, but it fails to trouble Valdes, who has his angles covered.
Yellow Card Issam El Adoua
Pedro is released down the left hand side, and the Spaniard whips in a reasonable ball, aiming for the back post. Sanchez steams into the six yard box, but fails to make contact with the pacey delivery! Close.
Alexis Sanchez goes down in agony after being clipped by El Adoua. The Moroccan picks up the first yellow of the game. Nasty attempt at a tackle.
Considering how the first half went, Levante will be encouraged by the first two minutes of the second! They've had a couple of set pieces and Barcelona are yet to create a chance for themselves. Neymar ominously begins his warm-up routine.
Levante pick up a free-kick and a corner in quick succession, but fail to deliver even a half-decent ball on either occasion. They have to be efficient with what minimal chances they do get, but it's just not happening for them tonight.
Sergio da Silva Pinto
Issam El Adoua
The referee restarts the game, and we shall see how many goals Barcelona manage in the second half! Goal difference could come in handy at the end of the season.
Incredibly comfortable for Barcelona, Martino will simply expect to see more of the same in the second 45 minutes. Caparros is a notoriously hard task master, so I predict raised voices in the Levante dressing room!
Half time! Blaugrana leave the field to polite applause, their job has been done already. Valdes has had nothing to do, and all of Barcelona's midfield and strikeforce have been excellent. 6-0 to Barca at the break.
Assist Cesc Fàbregas
6-0! GOOOOAL! XAVI! The little machine makes it SIX! It's a scrappy goal, but the diminutive midfielder won't mind! A lovely lofted ball from Fabregas looped into the penalty area, allowing for Xavi to stab the ball beyond the onrushing Navas with his toe!
The atmosphere at Camp Nou is reasonably subdued, this really does feel like a practice fixture. I imagine that the introduction of Neymar could inspire some excitement, however. I wouldn't be surprised to see him put on at the half time break, Barcelona have nothing to lose.
5-0 is no less than Barca deserve, they've been efficient and excellent. Levante, on the other hand, have been awful - they've looked resigned to defeat from the kick-off. Caparros will be wondering what this job will have in store for him this season.
Penalty Goal Lionel Messi
GOOOAL! 5-0! MESSI! The Argentine converts the penalty, sending Navas the wrong way, sending Barcelona into a ridiculous half time lead.
PENALTY! Messi is brought down heavily in the Levante area, and despite the visitors protests, the referee points to the spot!
Five minutes until half time, and Levante will hope to hang onto the current scoreline. Valdes hasn't had anything to do, aside from a couple of long passes. Pique is caught late in possession by El Zhar, it was a nasty challenge, but the referee chooses not to book the Moroccan.
Xumetra voices his frustration, after his teammate fails to find him unmarked on the left hand side. Rightly so, it was a terrible pass, it missed it's intended recipient by at least five yards. Levante simply can't thread anything together.
You would be forgiven for thinking that this is merely another pre-season game. Barca are being given so much time to dictate play, it looks to be simply a fitness exercise for Levante.
Sanchez weaves and pivots wildly to escape the attentions of his marker, before going down in the box and claiming for a penalty, it looked fairly innocuous, however. The referee awards a corner, but it comes to nothing.
XAVI! Good save from Navas to deny the central midfielder! His long-range strike looks to be heading just under the bar, but Navas beats it away fiercely, before yelling at his defenders for allowing such space.
If a Levante defender decides to leave the likes of Sanchez or Pedro unmarked in the wide position, you can be sure that the Barcelona player will receive the ball, before forcing uncertain marker to commit.
The domination continues, with Pique and Mascherano acting as mere spectators. There is always a spare man overloading one of the Levante flanks, and Barcelona are using the numbers wisely to really stretch and move their opposition around.
MESSI! SANCHEZ! Both go close! Navas is forced to race off his line initially, clattering into Messi as he attempted to stop the Argentine from controlling the lofted ball, before a cross from Sanchez forces the goalkeeper into a reasonable save. He's hurt though, he looked to land awkwardly on the base of his back.
Barral is the only visiting player to spend any of his time in the Barcelona half, otherwise his teammates are sitting extremely deep. It's all they can do, if they push higher up the field, the likes of Xavi and Messi would scythe them apart.
This could be any scoreline, Barcelona are just starting to click, while Levante look as though they'd love the game to end now. Navas hasn't been helped by his defence, and keeps looking to the sky and to the ground, in the hope that something will help him.
Assist Lionel Messi
GOOOOAL! 4-0! PEDRO! A beautiful pass from Messi carves the Levante defence in two, before Pedro cuts inside from the left hand side to collect, before curling the ball into the far corner with his right foot!
This has been far, far too easier for Barcelona. I dread to think what showboating Neymar will be permitted to do when he inevitably is substituted onto the field. Barcelona are 3-0 up at a canter.
Goal Daniel Alves
GOOOOAL! DANI ALVES! Navas made a good initial save to deny Fabregas, but the Levante 'keeper couldn't stop the second shot! Nice build up from Barca, Alves contributed earlier in the move with a nice backheel, before finishing himself.
PIQUE! Sanchez wins a free-kick near the corner flag on the right hand side, and Xavi dispatches the dead ball to the back post. Pique manages to rise highest, but nods the ball over the bar.
Unlucky! A nice phase of play sees Pedro attempt a cheeky backheel to play Alexis in behind Juanfran, but his teammate is stood in an offside position. This has been entirely Barcelona since the very beginning of the game, not many chances, but plenty of possession for the hosts.
Levante are happy to sit in two backs of four, while Barcelona stroke the ball around under minimal pressure. The away side know they are in for a long afternoon, but it doesn't seem as though they're particularly bothered about getting back into the game.
ALEXIS! What an audacious effort. The Chilean ghosts in at the back post, after a nicely weighted ball from Xaxi, and tries his luck with an acrobatic volley! He doesn't get the contact right, and the ball bounces out of play harmlessly.
Any Blaugrana fans who feared that the appointment of Martino may disrupt their form or style of football can rest easy. Barcelona are looking composed and slick, getting the ball wide to the willing runners of Pedro and Alexis whenever possible.
Victor Valdes is yet to have anything to do, Levante have offered absolutely nothing. David Barral will be having a debut to forget, I don't think he has touched the ball yet.
Free-kick in a dangerous area! Lionel Messi stands over it, shaping to use his right foot, around 30 yards from goal. Camp Nou expects a good effort, but the Argentine hits the wall! Disappointing.
It's just too easy for Barcelona, they're carving Levante apart at will. Pedro and Sanchez are always offering themselves as wide options, stretching Levante's defence, as they want to remain compact. Messi is already having a profound effect on proceedings, and has a goal as evidence.
Goal Lionel Messi
MESSI! What great football! A lofted ball is chested down by Fabregas, towards Messi, who controls well, before bursting into the area. He exchanges passes with Pedro, before slotting the ball into the bottom corner! 2-0!
XAVI! The ball is whipped in towards Messi's midriff, the Argentine kills the ball dead before laying it back to Xavi, who tries his luck with a first time strike. The veteran midfielder gets it all wrong though, and fires high and wide of Navas' post.
Composed play from Barca, Levante are camped in their own half, and it seems that damage limitation is already the aim of their gameplan. Rodas clears high into the air after Messi looks to control a loose ball in the area.
The away side are struggling to retain the ball for more than twenty seconds at a time, Navas is usually forced to kick long, and it doesn't take Barca's pressing long to force an error. Barca well on top.
Sanchez has already repaid the faith that Martino was keen to put in him, and Neymar might be a little concerned for his position. Messi will be first choice striker, leaving Neymar to fight with his teammates for the wide positions. Both have started confidently.
PEDRO! The goalscorer is found in plenty of space on the left hand side, but a poor touch allows for his marker to deflect the ball out for a corner. The set piece is taken short, before being whipped into the back post, but nobody gets on the end of the delivery.
Navas is able to collect a disappointing ball, which Messi tried to scoop over the Levante defence in search of Fabregas. The Spanish midfielder has been very advanced in the opening stages, he's certainly tasked with supporting Messi.
Levante have had a corner to their name so far, but nothing else. Barcelona are moving the ball confidently, as expected, with Busquets seeing quite a bit of possession. No player is holding onto the ball for too long, it's flowing and quick football.
Well, that didn't take long! Neymar will take a sigh of relief, the pressure on him is diminishing by the second. Levante were expected to struggle, but they were defensively poor to allow Sanchez to score so freely.
Assist Cesc Fàbregas
Goal Alexis Sánchez
GOOOOAL! Great move! Levante protest for offside, but the linesman keeps his flag down. Fabregas is threaded through on goal, plays the ball across the face of goal, allowing for Sanchez to tap the ball home.
Good start from the hosts. Fabregas loses possession, but Busquets recovers the ball, before spraying it wide to Sanchez. The Chilean beats Pedro Lopez with a neat step-over, but his cross is deflected out for a corner.
The referee puts his whistle to his mouth, and the first competitive fixture at the Camp Nou of the 2013/2014 season is underway!
Beautiful sunshine beats down upon what looks to be a sell-out Camp Nou crowd, and we are very close to kick-off. The player begin to take their places on the bench, and the first team begin the short walk from the tunnel to the field of play. All cameras are on Neymar at first, as the Brazilian takes his seat on the Blaugrana bench.
In terms of what would be expected from Martino's first team selection, the decisions to include Adriano and Fabregas seemingly over Alba and Iniesta might surprise a few people. Neymar is bound to make his home debut from the bench at some point during tonight's action.
Lionel Messi was believed to be doubtful after picking up a thigh strain in Barca's pre-season tour, but starts presumably leading the line, with Pedro to his left and Sanchez on the right. He will hope to lead his team to their 14th consecutive league win over Levante tonight.
Levante substitutes: Vyntra, Pallardo, Karabelas, El Adoua, Ivanschitz, Javi Jimenez, Pedro Rios.
Barcelona substitutes: Iniesta, Neymar, Pinto, Bartra, Song, Alba, Tello.
Levante starting line-up: Navas, David Navarro, Juanfran, Pedro Lopez, Hector Rodas, Sergio Pinto, El Zhar, Simao Junior, Xumetra, Ruben Garcia, David Barral.
Barcelona starting line-up: Valdes, Alves, Adriano, Pique, Mascherano, Fabregas, Xavi, Busquets, Pedro, Sanchez, Messi.
TEAM NEWS: Levante also boast a new boss, in the form of Joaquin Caparros, and will look to build on a disappointing eleventh place finish last campaign. New signings David Barral and Xumetra start for the visitors.
TEAM NEWS: Neymar makes the bench for his new club, despite his big money summer move from Santos. Alexis Sanchez is preferred to the young Brazilian, and there's certainly a feeling in Catalonia that this is the Chilean's make-or-break campaign for Blaugrana.
I'm Simon Harrison, and I will be keeping you fully informed with all of the action from the reigning La Liga champions' opening league game. New coach Martino will hope to get off to a good start, as his side face a Levante outfit from which not much is expected.
Hello and welcome to Goal's LIVE coverage of Barcelona's first fixture of the 2013/2014 La Liga season, as they face Levante at Camp Nou. Stay tuned for team news, as there is a rather high-profile signing who starts on the bench this evening.
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