In a 4-0 La Liga victory over Real Valladolid on Sunday, Robert Lewandowski continued his impressive start with Barcelona by scoring twice for the second game in a row. Jules Kounde also made his La Liga debut. On the stroke of halftime at the Camp Nou, young midfielder Pedri added a second after the Poland star had put Barca ahead with a poacher’s strike after 24 minutes.
With a late goal from Sergi Roberto, Lewandowski had now scored four goals in three games since his much-publicized summer transfer from Bayern Munich. With seven points from three games, Barca moved up to the second place, two points behind Real Betis. Later on Sunday at Espanyol, Real Madrid will try to continue their unblemished start to the season.
After the club finally succeeded in registering the France defender they acquired from Sevilla last month for a whopping 50 million euros ($49.8 mn), Xavi Hernandez gave Kounde his first start. The Catalans got off to a similar start as Lewandowski’s early header came close to giving the hosts the lead after a scoreless draw the previous weekend.
Raphinha delivered a ball that Lewandowski intercepted, and his glancing attempt hit the post and rebounded off Valladolid goalkeeper Jordi Masip before trickling along the safety line.
When Ousmane Dembele’s savage shot hit the crossbar, Ousmane Dembele was well beaten by Masip, who had earlier seen Raphinha running in behind and stopped him. The pressure from Barca ultimately paid off when Raphinha whipped in another teaser cross, confusing the Valladolid defense, which a risk-taking Lewandowski punished by putting the ball in the back of the net.
Marauding Dembele challenged Masip from a distance before setting up Pedri for the second goal by rolling a brilliantly weighted pass that the midfielder finished with his side foot for the first time.
In the 64th minute, Lewandowski nearly put the game out of reach as he ran onto a feed from Dembele and skillfully backheeled past Masip with the aid of a deflection from Joaquin Fernandez. Oscar Plano’s excellent save from Marc-Andre ter Stegen and Kounde’s extended leg on the line to stop Roque Mesa’s follow-up attempt prevented Valladolid from pulling one back.
After coming off the bench, Ansu Fati forced a quick save from Masip, but Barca added a fourth goal in stoppage time when Roberto volleyed in after Lewandowski’s attempt on goal was deflected off the bar by Masip, preventing him from scoring a hat-trick. Villarreal’s first points of the year were forfeited in a 0-0 draw against Getafe after Unai Emery’s team had a penalty award reversed after a VAR review in stoppage time.