Barcelona found a way to win late and guarantee a housewarming celebration at its temporary new home for the season on Sunday.
With late goals from Pedri and Ferran Torres, Barcelona beat Cadiz 2-0 in the first official match at the Lluis Companys Olympic Stadium in Montjuic, where the team will play while the Camp Nou undergoes an extensive makeover.
Pedri opened the scoring in the 82nd minute and Torres scored in stoppage time.
Barcelona secured its first win of the season despite the absence of coach Xavi and forward Raphinha because of red cards in the 0-0 opening draw at Getafe last weekend. Xavi was handed a two-game suspension for excessively complaining to the referee and Raphinha was sent off for elbowing an opponent.
Xavi watched from the stands at the Olympic stadium and said he was happy with the team’s new home.
“I really liked how the fans supported the team the whole time. This is very positive for the club,” he said. “The crowd responded nicely. It was a good start and they will keep supporting us even more.”
Barcelona, the defending champions, struggled in attack until Pedri found the net with a left-footed touch following a nice give-and-go play with midfielder Ilkay Gundogan, the team’s main signing this season. Torres sealed the victory with a goal from inside the area after a late breakaway. Robert Lewandowski had a goal disallowed for offside.
The win came before a crowd of 39,603 people at the Lluis Companys, which was the main stadium for the 1992 Barcelona Olympics and can hold 49,000 people — compared to the 99,000-capacity Camp Nou, Europe’s largest soccer stadium. The Camp Nou is undergoing a long-delayed overhaul to improve its facilities and add even more seats.
“It was good to come to our new stadium,” Barcelona goalkeeper Marc-André ter Stegen said. “This win will make things easier for us going forward.”
Cadiz, which barely avoided relegation last season, opened with a 1-0 win over Alaves last weekend.
ATLETICO MADRID HELD
Atletico Madrid was held to a 0-0 draw at Real Betis in a match with few significant scoring opportunities in the heat of Seville.
Betis looked the more dangerous team but was not able to break the deadlock at the Benito Villamarín Stadium.
“We were better in the first half but in the second it became harder because of the heat,” Betis coach Manuel Pellegrini said. “But you can never say that a draw against Atletico is a bad result.”
Both teams were trying to win their second consecutive match to start the season.
“We didn’t create a lot of danger in the first half but could have done better in front of the goal after halftime,” Atletico coach Diego Simeone said.
Betis has won only one of its last 22 league matches against Atletico since Simeone’s arrival.
Also Sunday, Getafe remained winless after losing 3-0 at Girona, which had two goals from Uruguay striker Cristhian Stuani in the second half after one from Venezuelan midfielder Yangel Herrera in the first.
Madrid won 3-1 at Almería on Saturday for its second consecutive win. It leads the league alongside Valencia, which beat Las Palmas 1-0 on Friday.
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