Barcelona 0-1 Cadiz
When it rains, it pours in Barcelona.
It was a dry night at Camp Nou as Cadiz visited Catalonia, but the misery continued to rain down on the Barcelona fans that did attend. The build-up to the match was dominated by fan protests and controversy over injured centre-back Gerard Pique, but the lack of focus on the match itself came back to bite the Catalans.
The match started with little sense of disaster, with Barcelona moving the ball quickly and getting to the edge of the box. That’s where the problems began. Memphis Depay had come into the side and struggled to get involved, finding no clear role either in or outside of the area.
It was who Ousmane Dembele carried much of the hopes and threat for Barcelona, giving Pacha Espino a headache with his footwork. What started as promising gradually became problematic however. With few other avenues of progress, the Blaugrana attack was funnelled through Dembele. That one-dimensional feel benefitted Sergio Gonzalez’s team.
Then came the first warning. With Ruben Sobrino getting in behind Jordi Alba and beyond the covering Gavi, his square ball should have been converted by the onrushing Lucas Perez.
Yet half-time came and went without that warning being heeded. Just three minutes after the break, a cross came in from the left and was not dealt with by the defence – although Marc-Andre ter Stegen saved the first effort but couldn’t get to Perez’s follow-up.
Strengthened by this, Cadiz became increasingly comfortable in their low block, winning fouls and escaping the Barcelona press from time to time. Arguably Alex Fernandez should have made it two as he side-footed a very presentable opportunity wide.
By this point panic had somewhat set in at Camp Nou with little sign of the equaliser on the way. Substitutions came thick and fast and although Adama Traore managed to put crosses in, each was met by a Cadiz head. Even Luuk de Jong struggled to save them.
The one chance they did have to get out of jail fell to Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang. The Gabonese’ clinical touch has been the difference for Barcelona in so much of the second half of the season, but Jeremias Ledesma was equal to his effort.
By the time the final whistle blew, all 22 players were convinced of the end result. Cadiz had executed their game plan to perfection and had reason to complain about the margin. Barcelona looked short of ideas and the frustration from the stands was absorbed by the players too.
The three points gained move Cadiz into 16th and out of the relegation zone, while Barcelona remain on 60 points with Atletico Madrid and Sevilla.