As comfy because it will get for Xavi’s males
Barcelona are safely by way of to the Copa del Rey quarterfinals and there was no drama in opposition to a decrease stage facet this time because the Catalans dominated AD Ceuta from the Third Division and received 5-0 on the Alfonso Murube Stadium on Thursday evening’s Spherical of 16 tie. The Catalans made a gradual begin however had been by no means examined by the hosts, and utilized sufficient strain within the second half to get the targets and cruise to the subsequent spherical.
The primary half-hour of the sport had been, to place it properly, straight trash. Ceuta had been very clearly a workforce missing any actual expertise and had been enjoying on pure adrenaline and depth, attempting to maneuver the ball up the pitch and create possibilities on crosses and set items whereas defending as onerous as they might to not give Barça any areas.
Barça however had been enjoying on first gear, transferring the ball very slowly with static gamers unwilling to make runs in behind the Ceuta protection. The tempo was horribly gradual, and neither workforce got here near scoring a objective early on.
As we very slowly approached halftime, nevertheless, Barça lastly confirmed some indicators of life in assault and started threatening with runs in behind and longer passes to catch Ceuta’s protection out of place. The Blaugrana had been poor within the closing third, with poor touches and unhealthy selections that killed promising strikes, however they started trying like a workforce prepared to attain.
And with 4 minutes left within the half, they did by way of the one participant who actively tried one thing within the sport: Raphinha obtained a cross on the fringe of the field, labored the ball to his left foot and fired a beautiful curling shot into the underside nook to present Barça the lead.
At halftime, a gradual and unimaginative Barça facet lastly had determined to push the tempo and acquired a objective within the dying moments, and in the event that they selected to play just a bit bit higher within the second half they might kill the sport off early on.
Barça made the right begin to the second half with an early objective to double their lead: Franck Kessie received the ball excessive up the pitch as Ceuta tried to play out from the again and located Robert Lewandowski on their lonesome contained in the field and the Pole put the ball by way of the legs of the keeper to make it 2-0.
Ceuta had completely nothing to lose and began sending extra our bodies ahead searching for an unlikely objective that might get them again within the sport, however that left them very open and weak to the counter assault.
It took some time however Barça lastly took benefit of the additional house and killed the sport off: Jordi Alba discovered Ansu Fati on their lonesome on the left wing and the substitute minimize inside on his proper foot and located the underside nook to make it three and end the job with 20 minutes to go.
The ultimate minutes had been about controlling the sport and protecting a clear sheet, however there was nonetheless time for an additional objective as Raphinha put in an ideal cross from the suitable and Franck Kessie arrived within the field to go residence the fourth and full his wonderful evening.
With the win within the bag there was nonetheless time for a primary workforce debut as under-19 star Ángel Alarcón got here on with 10 minutes to go. Alarcón didn’t do a lot however Barça added a fifth with one other wonderful end from Lewandowski, and the ultimate whistle got here to ship Barça to the subsequent spherical.
Championship groups dominate unhealthy ones. Barça did simply that and it’s superb to see.
Ceuta: Mejías; García, Gutiérrez, Lafarge (Danese 68’), Alfonso; Cuevas (García 57’), Reina, López (Iglesias 57’); Ahmed (Redondo 57’), Ríos (Casais 78’), González
Barcelona: Peña; Bellerín, Eric, Alonso (Christensen 73’), Alba; Kessie, Roberto (Busquets 73’), Torre (Gavi 46’); Raphinha (Alarcón 80’), Lewandowski, Ferran (Fati 60’)
Objectives: Raphinha (41’), Lewandowski (50’, 90’), Fati (70’)