Barcelona got their league title defense off to an emphatic start today with a 7-0 demolition of Levante at the Camp Nou. Lionel Messi and Pedro Rodriguez both scored twice while Alexis Sanchez, Xavi and Dani Alves got in on the fun as well. Neymar made his debut as well coming on in the second half.
It took Barcelona less than three minutes to start the scoring thanks to some of their trademark pinpoint passing. Xavi's ball in from the edge of the 18-yard-box to Cesc Fabregas was a thing of beauty, finding Cesc all alone to the left of goalkeeper Keylor Navas. The Levante goalkeeper tried to close down on Cesc, but he cooly slid the ball right to Alexis Sanchez who tapped the ball into the empty net.
In the 12th minute Lionel Messi scored his first goal of the season thanks to some more beautiful passing. Fabregas chested down the long ball in with his back to the goal, right onto the feet of Messi who played a quick one-two with Pedro Rodriguez and then blasted a low shot past Navas, making it 2-0 to the home side.
Barca extended the lead to 3-0 in the 24th minute when some heavy pressure from Dani Alves forced a turnover on the right side. Alves gained control and quickly sent the ball out to Messi who wasted no time finding Fabregas again behind the defensive line in the Levante box. Navas blocked Cec's initial effort but Alves had worked his way into the area and finished of the rebound.
Less than two minutes later Messi picked out Pedro on the left wing with a perfect pass from 40-yards out and the Spanish international winger buried his effort past Navas.
26 minutes into the new season and Barcelona already had four goals.
Barcelona, clearly suffering from a slump in form, took nearly 14 minutes to score their fifth goal of the day. Adriano was brought down just in side the box by Pedro López and the referee wasted little time pointing to the spot. Messi took the penalty and scored his second goal of the match to make it 5-0.
Barca completed a first half touchdown when Xavi scored right on the 45-minute mark.
Levante didn't even manage a shot in the first half. Not a shot on goal, a shot.
Things calmed down in the second half as Barcelona backed off a bit and Levante's defense played a bit better. The biggest highlight was the debut of Neymar in the 64th minute as he replaced Alexis. We only got to enjoy the Neymar/Messi combination for roughly seven minutes as Gerardo Martino decided to rest his star striker with a busy couple of weeks ahead for the club with league and Super Cup matches.
A seventh goal did arrive in the 73rd minute after a defensive mix-up allowed Cesc to dribble in on Navas before tapping the ball over to Pedro who finished calmly for his second goal of the match.
Barcelona: Valdes; Alves, Pique, Mascherano, Adriano; Busquets, Xavi; Alexis (Neymar 64'), Messi (Iniesta 71'), Pedro (Tello 77').
Goals: Alexis (3'), Messi (12', 42'), Alves (24'), Pedro (26', 73'), Xavi (45')
Levante: Navas; Lopez, Navarro, Rodas, Juanfran; Mate (Pallardo 45'), Pinto (Adoua 46'); Garcia, El Zhar (Ivanschitz 64'), Xumetra; Barral.