Barcelona got its first win of the season with a hard-fought 4-1 victory over Real Sociedad at the Anoeta on Sunday night in a match that largely swung in the visitor's favor following the introduction of Ansu Fati in the 64th minute.
With Sergio Busquets suspended following his red card in Barça's opening draw with Rayo Vallecano, Xavi handed a start to Frenkie de Jong in midfield and introduced Álex Balde and Ferran Torres on the left-hand side.
It was Balde's run and cross that found Robert Lewandowski, celebrating his 34th birthday, for his first Barcelona goal in the game's opening minute.
LEWANDOWSKI FIRST GOAL FOR BARCELONA! pic.twitter.com/0vHkqc8WYz— ESPN (@espn) August 21, 2022
46 - Robert Lewandowski has scored Barcelona's earliest LaLiga goal since Iniesta vs Recreativo in 2009 (43), the earliest away goal in the competition since Saviola vs Valladolid in 2004 (30) and the earliest of his 313 goals in BL and LaLiga combined. Pistolero. pic.twitter.com/Xnr5xHVP1V— OptaJose (@OptaJose) August 21, 2022
But Sociedad's response was prompt. De Jong lost possession in his own half and Alexander Isak punished the mistake.
ISAK CHIPS TER STEGEN pic.twitter.com/QDEU5RUH0v
Sociedad threatened to take the lead, but Marc-André ter Stegen denied David Silva before halftime to keep it at 1-1.
Sensational save by Ter Stegen pic.twitter.com/TuCoYl6qXA
Barça struggled to generate chances in the final third, but good things started to happen when the 19-year-old Fati replaced Torres. In the 66th minute, the teenager sent Ousmane Dembélé scampering into the box with a backheel and the Frenchman finished inside the far post.
ANSU FATI WITH THE BEAUTIFUL ASSIST FOR DEMBELE pic.twitter.com/VD5hrgcous
Two minutes later, Barcelona crushed Sociedad's spirit with a third. Fati laid it back for Lewandowski while falling to the floor.
Back-to-back beautiful assists from FatiLewy with the double! pic.twitter.com/1CIFSFfg7Q
— ESPN FC (@ESPNFC) August 21, 2022
It was only right that Fati also got his first of the season with Lewandowski involved.
Ansu Fati with a goal and two assists off the bench pic.twitter.com/3qWUmEijGm
Barcelona ends Matchday 2 in fifth place, behind the perfect records of Osasuna, Real Betis, Real Madrid and Villarreal. Barça plays a friendly against Manchester City on Wednesday (a charity match in the fight against ALS) before hosting Valladolid on Sunday.