Robert Lewandowski scored his second consecutive brace as Barcelona breezed past Real Valladolid with a comfortable 4-0 LaLiga victory on Sunday.
It was Barça's second win from three games in the new season and moved them up to second in the table with seven points, two behind leaders Real Betis and provisionally one ahead of Real Madrid, who face Espanyol later on Sunday.
After enduring a frustrating goalless draw in their opening game of the season against lowly Rayo Vallecano, Barcelona enjoyed a confidence-boosting 4-1 win over Real Sociedad last week, in which Lewandowski got off the mark for the campaign with two goals. Against Valladolid they maintained the momentum and were finally able to deploy French defender Jules Koundé, who missed the first two games of the season with Barça unable to register him as a player as they struggled to comply with LaLiga's Financial Fair Play (FFP) rules.
Koundé played from the start on Sunday and had a solid showing, as Barça dominated the game and never gave Valladolid a chance. Lewandowski and Ousmane Dembélé both went close for Barça, hitting the post in the first half, but it did not take long for them to open the scoring, as Lewandowski stroked home from close range from a perfect Raphinha cross to the far post in the 24th minute.
Barcelona mete el primer gol!LEWANDOWSKI pic.twitter.com/AWT0I1Eg6a
— ESPN FC (@ESPNFC) August 28, 2022
Barcelona extended their lead right before halftime through Pedri, who riffled a curling strike into the top-left corner after a nice pass by Dembélé from the right touchline.
Pedri passes one home for Barca pic.twitter.com/1WZOmx2OXb— ESPN FC (@ESPNFC) August 28, 2022
Lewandowski scored Barça's third in the 65th minute, with a brilliant back-heel that deflected off a defender before beating goalkeeper Jordi Masip.
BACKHEEL GOAL LEWANDOWSKI WOW pic.twitter.com/YVFXFfoi8F— ESPN FC (@ESPNFC) August 28, 2022
The Poland striker had a golden opportunity to complete a hat-trick in added time, but Masip made a great stop to keep out his close range shot. Substitute Sergi Roberto, however, was in the right place at the right time to strike home the rebound and wrap up the points.
Sergi Roberto puts the finishing touch on the Barcelona win pic.twitter.com/N274Y0fmqd— ESPN+ (@ESPNPlus) August 28, 2022
"It was a complete game but far from perfect," Barça coach Xavi Hernández told DAZN. "We gave them too many chances at the end, you just can't afford to relax in this game. Even going 3-0 we have to keep pushing but we're happy. I can't demand more effort from them than they have done."
(Reporting by Fernando Kallas; Editing by Toby Davis)