Barcelona made it 13 points from a possible 15 in La Liga with a 4-0 win over Cadiz at Estadio Nuevo Mirandilla to move to the top of the table - but the match was overshadowed by a medical emergency in the crowd.
Going into the match, Barcelona had not tasted victory against Cadiz since their return to the top flight of Spanish football in the 2020-21 season - a run of four matches. That included a notable 1-0 defeat to the Yellow Submarine at Camp Nou in April, and Xavi knew his side could not afford to experience that once again.
La Blaugrana were the dominant side in the first half, but failed to take their chances against a resilient Cadiz back-line. The best of them fell to Raphinha inside 10 minutes, but the Brazilian’s shot from close range rattled against the bottom of the post. The visitors grew in confidence as the first period came to a close, but they had to go into half-time with the score remaining goalless.
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Barcelona made amends for their lack of cutting edge in the first half as they took the lead ten minutes after the break. Gavi’s low cross from the right flank was tipped by Cadiz goalkeeper Jeremias Ledesma into the path of Frenkie de Jong, and the midfielder had an easy finish from close range.
The away side doubled their advantage on 65 minutes, as Robert Lewandowski found the net just five minutes after coming on as a substitute. Raphinha's low ball into the centre of the box from the right flank was initially intended for De Jong to get on the end of, but a messy clearance which saw Ledesma get a hand to it despite being bundled into by a team-mate, dropped for Lewandowski to tap-in from a few yards out.
In the 81st minute, the game was halted due to a medical emergency in the stands. The severity of the situation became apparent for everyone to see as Cadiz goalkeeper Ledesma rushed over from the touchline to hand over medical equipment in the direction of the crowd.
After 15 minutes of the players anxiously waiting on the pitch, the referee signalled for both teams to head to their respective dressing rooms until more news arrived. After a total delay of over 40 minutes, the players re-emerged onto the pitch and the game eventually resumed at 21:05 local time.
Four minutes after the restart, Barcelona had their third of the night from a quick breakaway. Ousmane Dembele played a defence splitting through ball for Lewandowski to chase. The striker did well to hold off the last defender, before squaring the ball for Ansu Fati to his left, and the 19-year-old finished low to the right from inside the area.
The earlier medical incident seemed to affect the Cadiz players on the pitch, as six minutes later, Los Piratas conceded a fourth. Ousmane Dembele, who was given the freedom to attack, cut inside from the right byline, before checking back and firing a low shot to the right corner of the net past Ledesma despite the goalkeeper getting a hand to it. Lewandowski also had his second assist of the night.
The result sees Cadiz remain bottom of the Liga table as Sergio Gonzalez's side continue to wait for their first win of the season.
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