On his 34th birthday, Robert Lewandowski scored in just 45 seconds, but it was the brilliance of 19-year-old Ansu Fati that propelled Barcelona to a 4-1 victory over Real Sociedad.
Real Sociedad pushed forward within the opening minute, and surprise starter Alejandro Balde, playing wide left in a 3-4-3 in place of Jorid Alba, dashed into space.
He was free to feed the Polish striker, who scored his first league goal for Barcelona in the first minute since Mikel Merino was unable to keep up with him and Igor Zubeldia never came out to close him down.
On Sunday, Robert Lewandowski scored his first goals in a competitive game for Barcelona.
Frenkie de Jong made a mistake that allowed Real Sociedad to get back into the game after the lead had only been in place for four minutes. De Jong was caught off guard by David Silva while filling in for the suspended Sergio Busquets in the Baras midfield. His through ball went to Alex Isak, whose shot looped over Marc Andre ter Stegen after hitting Eric Garcia’s outstretched foot.
At the restart, Brais Mendes curled a long free kick beyond Marc Andre ter Stegen and everyone else, giving Real Sociedad the impression they had scored. Three Real Sociedad players were flagged for being clearly offside, but the home team wanted the goal because none of the three touched the ball. They were disallowed because the referee determined that they had sufficiently encroached on the Barcelona goalkeeper to have interfered with play.
Real Sociedad had made a great start to the second half, but Xavi is blessed with the strongest forward lineup in La Liga, and on the hour he added Raphinha and Fati to the mix, the former of whom made a significant impact in only five minutes.
In San Sebastian, Spain, Lewandowski scored the game’s first goal after just 45 seconds.
Scoring machine! With his second goal and his customarily precise finish, Robert Lewandowski gives Barcelona some breathing room. pic.twitter.com/CcAuxdaGUM
Sports Network (@SportsNetwork) August 21, 2022 His deft back flick found Dembele, who then scored Barcelona’s first goal by beating Alex Remiro with a left-foot strike.
Fans of Real Sociedad will note that Dembele could have been dismissed early for a careless elbow that knocked Aien Muoz out. His second goal depressed the home team while he avoided penalty.
Lewandowski scored from close range following a beautiful close-passing move from Barcelona because he was eager to complete what he had started. Once more, Fati was involved, adding his stardust to the pass and move that Lewandowski used to get past Remiro and across the face of the goal.
For the fourth, Lewandowski gave Fati his due. The striker, who won’t turn 20 until the end of October, was assisted by Brais Mendes’ deflection as his back-flick landed at his feet and he scored to complete the rout.
Barcelona has added many players to its roster this summer and still wants to add more. Even when Lewandowski scores goals, Fati appears to be the exceptional one. His young career has been delayed by injuries, but he is back in the game and Real Sociedad couldn’t handle him.