Robert Lewandowski scored two goals to give Barcelona a 2-1 win over visiting Alaves in La Liga on Sunday, ending a stretch of not scoring any goals.
An awful Barcelona team was down to ten men when Samu Omorodion scored the first goal for the guests. However, Lewandowski’s two goals in the second half saved the home team three points.
With this win, Barcelona is still only a few points behind surprise leaders Girona, who are four points ahead, and two points ahead of second-place Real Madrid, who also won on Saturday.
Early in the second half, Lewandowski scored a great header, and in the 77th minute, he smashed home a penalty to make it seven league goals.
Catalonia is going through a slump, and Lewandowski was too. The striker was having his worst run of form in over a decade, having not scored in six games before this.
Even Barcelona is having a bad run of games right now.
“When you go down early, like we have a few times this season, you have to row against the current,” Pedri Gonzalez, a striker for Barcelona, told Movistar.
“We came into it after some complicated results, above all in the Champions League, but we have to continue like this, taking all three points.”
Xavi said that the team wasn’t in trouble, even though they lost the Clasico recently and had a bad game against Shakhtar Donetsk last week. He said that it was up to him to get the team out of their slump.
The coach gave Pedri his first start since getting hurt, put Joao Cancelo in left back for the first time, and brought back 16-year-old talent Lamine Yamal.
Alaves scored in just 18 seconds.
Jon Guridi stole the ball from Ilkay Gundogan in the middle of the pitch, and with Barcelona’s defence in shambles, he set up Javi Lopez to cross for Omorodion, who scored past Marc-Andre ter Stegen.
– Chances missed –
During the first half, Barcelona was easily pulled apart several times, and Omorodion, an Alaves target player who is only 19, beat Jules Kounde more than once.
In the middle of the first half, after the shooter went past Kounde and hit the post, Xavi moved the French centre back to right back.
Omorodion missed a chance to score when he was one-on-one with Ter Stegen, and Alaves could have been three goals up at the half, but they were only ahead by one.
Lewandowski, who is 35 and has been looking that age lately, had the only chance of the first half, but Alaves custodian Antonio Sivera stopped him.
Fans were disgusted by another lifeless performance and booed the Barcelona players off at halftime. Early in the second half, Barcelona scored to tie the game.
Kounde crossed the ball from the right side, and Lewandowski hit it with a great header that went over Sivera and into the goal.
Raphinha, Ferran Torres, and Alejandro Balde were brought on by Xavi in the hopes that their fresh legs would make a difference.
Yamal, who had been booked earlier for jumping, hit Sivera with a hard, low shot at the near post. Barcelona was finally playing well.
When Abdel Abqar tripped Torres in the area, Barcelona took the lead. Lewandowski scored the penalty kick into the roof of the net to seal the win.
“Sad, very sad,” was how Alaves coach Luis Garcia described his team’s loss. They are now 15th in the league, five points above the drop zone. “The key is in the first half, if it’s 2-0, or 3-0, it’s a different story.”