Barcelona's Copa del Rey campaign got off to a good start despite needing to overturn an early deficit against third-division side FC Cartagena. The underdog home side took a 1-0 lead in the 16th minute, but Barca wore them down over the rest of the match, eventually winning 4-1 to take an aggregate lead.
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To their credit, Cartagena were not intimidated by their illustrious guests and effectively pressed Barcelona early after dodging a bullet in the opening minute when Alexis Sanchez missed an excellent chance wide. In the 7th minute, Cartagena's Miguel Ángel Riau missed a golden opportunity when a poorly cleared ball fell to him at the top of the Barca box. His shot was not struck cleanly though, sending the ball well wide of José Manuel Pinto's goal.
It was a sign of things to come though. In the 16th minute, Cartagena caught Barcelona napping as Fernando split Carles Puyol and Marc Batra and ran on to a well-placed long ball. The striker took a single touch to settle the ball before firing a low shot past Pinto to give the home side a 1-0 lead.
Barcelona got their best chance up to that point in the 30th minute when Pedro got free of his marker and directed a cross on frame. Cartagena's Jesus Limones was in the right place, though, and blocked the shot away from danger.
Pedro was easily Barcelona's most active attacker, and after earning two dangerous free kicks -- that didn't amount to anything -- he finally was able to avoid getting brought down on a break and made Cartagena pay in the 36th minute. It wasn't anything fancy -- it didn't need to be -- just a solid finish after getting free on the left side to pull Barca even at 1-1.
Less than two minutes before halftime, Barcelona took the lead on a nice finish from Cesc Fábregas. Adriano's vision helped set up the goal, seeing Cesc in space near the top of the box and finding him with a cross. Cesc did his part, volleying the ball into the top corner and calming Barca fans everywhere.
The Blaugrana controlled the second half but couldn't pad their lead until the 75th minute, when Pedro -- who was easily the man of the match -- broke down the Cartagena defense and neatly beat Limones to make it 3-1. Barca youngster Jean-Marie Dongou added a fourth in the 90th minute.
The second leg of the tie will be held at the Camp Nou in mid-December.
FC Cartagena: Limones, Zurdo (Dani Ruiz 71'), Astrain, David Moreno, Marcos, Mariano, De Lerma (Menudo 58'), Riau, Fede, Antoñito, Fernando (Megias 81')
Goals: Fernando (16')
Barcelona: Pinto, Adriano, Puyol, Bartra, Alba (Montoya 81'), Busquets, Song, Sergi Roberto, Alexis (Dongou 78'), Pedro, Fàbregas
Goals: Pedro (36', 75'), Fábregas (44'), Dongou (90')