Skip to content

Gerardo Martino era at Barcelona starts with 7-0 win over Levante, and it could have been worse

Aug 18, 2013, 5:26 PM EDT

FC Barcelona v Levante UD - La Liga Getty Images

The final score looks bad, but it could have been much worse. Barcelona scored six of their goals in the first half, and of the 13 shots they put on Levante’s goal, only two came after half time. Clearly, the defending Spanish champions let up after intermission, yet they still cruised to a 7-0 win to open their title defense.

Alexis Sanchez opened the scoring in the third minute, with Lionel Messi doubling the Blaugrana’s lead nine minutes later. Dani Alves and Pedro got on the score sheet before Messi put home his second from the spot. Just before halftime, Xavi completed Barça’s onslaught, sending the home side into half up 6-0. Pedro added the final goal after intermission.

Barcelona went on to out-shoot Levante 22-4 (13-1, shots on goal). They maintained 78 percent possession, completed 92 percent of their passes, and finished with a 754-217 advantage in total passes. Only three Barça players (goalkeeper, two central defenders) had an average position in the team’s defensive end, while only three Levante players’ spent most of their time in their attacking half.

[MORE: Goal, assist from Isco lead Real Madrid past Real Betis]

Further accentuating the gap between the two teams, Barcelona played without a number of their first choice players. Carles Puyol, still recovering from a knee injury, was deputized by Javier Mascherano in central defense. Andres Iniesta started on the bench, giving Cesc Fábregas a place in the starting XI. Neymar, most noticed of all the omissions, and Jordi Alba started on the bench, though neither had a full preseason’s preparations.

Though Barcelona and rival Real Madrid have a reputation for posting lopsided results in Spain, this was the Blaugrana’s largest win since Apr. 29, 2013, when the team won by the same score at Rayo Vallecano. That day, Lionel Messi posted two goals and three assists. Today, Messi added one assist to his two first half goals, setting up the first of Pedro’s two goals.

Despite the easy opener, things should get tougher in Barcelona’s next five games. Atlético Madrid awaits in the first leg of the Spanish Super Cup on Wednesday, with Málaga, Atlético (leg two), Valencia and Sevilla to follow.

Latest Posts
  1. WATCH: Michael Bradley rips MLS, referees

    Sep 23, 2014, 6:39 PM EDT

    FBL-WC-2014-MATCH45-USA-GER Getty Images

    The Toronto FC midfielder and U.S. international was fined for his harsh comments regarding the refereeing in Toronto’s loss draw with Chicago.

  2. League Cup Roundup: Liverpool survive 15-round shootout, Arsenal out

    Sep 23, 2014, 5:49 PM EDT

    Liverpool v Middlesbrough - Capital One Cup Third Round Getty Images

    Anfield played host to a match that saw two extra-time goals and a penalty shootout that went 15 rounds before the Reds could claim their place in the fourth round.

  3. UEFA to investigate Partizan Belgrade for anti-Semitic banner

    Sep 23, 2014, 4:30 PM EDT

    FK Partizan v Neftci PFK - UEFA Europa League Getty Images

    The Serbian club’s supporters were seen waving a banner displaying an anti-Semitic phrase during their Europa League match against Tottenham.

  4. VIDEO: Jozy Altidore scores League Cup goal against Stoke

    Sep 23, 2014, 4:08 PM EDT

    Britain Soccer Premier League AP

    Altidore is off and running for the 2014-15 season, watch his goal.

  5. Three out of five is bad: CSKA Moscow faces racism charge for fan acts

    Sep 23, 2014, 3:15 PM EDT

    imgres

    UEFA has already ruled — based on previous offenses — that CSKA’s match against Bayern Munich next week will be played in an empty stadium.

  6. Manchester City’s Pellegrini won’t rule out Lampard loan extension

    Sep 23, 2014, 2:22 PM EDT

    Frank Lampard AP

    What would Lampard want? Hard to tell from the weekend’s goal celebration or lack thereof?

  7. ESPN sends Clint Dempsey out to ask people about USMNT captain (video)

    Sep 23, 2014, 1:33 PM EDT

    clint_dempsey AP

    You do get the feeling they had to do a bunch of work to find people who failed to recognize Dempsey, if only because of the interviews that made the final cut.

  8. League Cup third round preview: What qualifies as an upset?

    Sep 23, 2014, 12:42 PM EDT

    Britain Soccer League Cup AP

    The possibilities for juicy upsets aren’t dancing through the slate of third round matches, but there’s plenty to look forward to…

  9. Gyan to speak on journalist beating and refute human sacrifice rumors in press conference

    Sep 23, 2014, 11:43 AM EDT

    Brazil Soccer WCup Portugal Ghana AP

    Ghana national teamer and Al Ain striker Asamoah Gyan has called a press conference to refute non-sensical claims that he killed his friend to gain magical powers.

  10. Anfield $164m expansion approved; Liverpool’s home to near 59,000 cap

    Sep 23, 2014, 10:53 AM EDT

    _77766716_lfc_view01_final

    Anfield has been Liverpool’s home since 1892, and the new construction is slated to finish in time for the start of the 2016/17 season.

  11. PST’s Major League Soccer power rankings: Double(d) vision edition

    Sep 23, 2014, 10:08 AM EDT

    Sounders Union Soccer AP

    Oh, the challenges that await a man altering another man’s power rankings.

  12. US Soccer stands by Solo stance; Media backlash keeps on coming

    Sep 23, 2014, 9:06 AM EDT

    Mexico v United States Getty Images

    Hope Solo advocates have been angered by some columns claiming she shouldn’t be playing, while a national pundit gives his take on the story

  13. PST’s Major League Soccer player of the week: No question who was tops

    Sep 23, 2014, 8:09 AM EDT

    Bradley Wright-Phillips AP

    Bradley Wright-Phillips, you may now step forward to collect your prize of Internet-based high-fives.

  14. FIFA-outlined new head injury protocol will go up for vote

    Sep 23, 2014, 7:40 AM EDT

    West Ham United v Liverpool - Premier League Getty Images

    It’s hard to imagine the new head safety measures won’t pass quickly, and reports say they could be in effect by October.

  15. ICYMI: Insane 90-yard volley sets Bundesliga record for longest goal

    Sep 23, 2014, 12:14 AM EDT

    Stoppelkamp AP

    Newly-promoted Paderborn is shocking the Bundesliga and providing quite the show in the process.

  16. Americans Abroad Review: English-based Americans struggle, Green shocks parents Bayern

    Sep 22, 2014, 11:28 PM EDT

    Guzan Getty Images

    It was a rough weekend for Americans in England, but outside the country things a little more enjoyable.

  17. WATCH: Men in Blazers show debuts on NBCSN

    Sep 22, 2014, 10:51 PM EDT

    Screen Shot 2014-09-22 at 10.50.08 PM

    The full debut of Men In Blazers graced NBC Sports Network tonight with an assist from Adam Richman.

  18. Often mocked by fans, Wenger says Abou Diaby should command respect

    Sep 22, 2014, 10:04 PM EDT

    Diaby Getty Images

    Despite making just sixteen league appearances the last three years, the Gunners manager says Diaby should be commended for his perseverance.

  19. Report: Obafemi Martins close to Seattle extension and raise

    Sep 22, 2014, 8:41 PM EDT

    Martins AP

    Seattle’s lethal striker is set to cap the best year of his career with a new deal and a raise.

  20. Carlos Tevez still can’t get into the Argentinian national team

    Sep 22, 2014, 7:59 PM EDT

    Tevez AP

    The 30-year-old hasn’t been in the Argentinian side since 2011 when he missed a crucial penalty in a shootout with Uruguay.

Featured video

Week 5: Top five Premier League goals