Barcelona came from behind to beat plucky SD Huesca, as this game quickly turned into an absolute scoring free-for-all.
A surprise start saw Huesca take an early lead with the new boys showing no fear from the off. Beginning in an attacking 4-4-2 formation with advanced wide midfielders, Leo Franco's side took a second minute lead. Jorge Miramon's back post cross was headed down by Samuele Longo, and the Italian's attempt was instinctively stabbed home by strike partner Cucho Hernandez.
Huesca! 2 minutes in and they take the lead!— AS English (@English_AS) September 2, 2018
The lead only lasted 13 minutes however, as Lionel Messi once again stepped up. Collecting the ball at the box's edge, Barca's genius spun Luisinho like a Beyblade before rifling in off the post. Soon after, Jordi Alba sent in a low cross for La Blaugrana's second goal. Sensing Messi's presence, Jorge Pulido stuck out a lazy leg and diverted the ball past Axel Werner.
The third came five minutes before half time, as Jordi Alba yet again broke the offside trap to cut back for an open Luis Suarez. However, the first half scoring wasn't over there, as Alex Gallar stole a march on Gerard Pique to tap in past the static Marc Andre ter-Stegen for 3-2.
The second 45 started where the first left off, with entertainment and goals. Messi hit the bar before Suarez fed Ousmane Dembele to smash across goal for Barca's fourth. Three minutes later, number 10 orchestrated a move to play in Ivan Raktic, and the Croat impressively lashed in a fifth.
On the hour mark Philippe Coutinho found a breaking Messi, and it was six. The seventh was found by Jordi Alba, who coolly slotted home another Argentine assist. Axel Werner took down Suarez in additional time, and Messi graciously allowed his felled teammate to slide home the penalty for number eight.
Key Talking Point
Even though Barcelona won out, the confidence of little Huesca was admirable. Slightly tactically naive to play the way they did, La Liga's newly promoted side helped to create quite the entertaining encounter.
Leo Franco obviously wanted his team to go out and enjoy themselves, likely expecting nothing from a game of this magnitude. His attack probably had a more enjoyable time than their defence, with Barcelona's fluidity a nightmare to deal with.
There’s something about Huesca that reminds me of Rayo Vallecano. Can’t decide if it’s the kits or all out attack.— totalBarça (@totalBarca) September 2, 2018
However, the likes of Alex Gallar and Moi Gomez looked sharp, and fans of the provincial northern club can have real confidence about their ability to score goals this season.
Better teams than Huesca will go to the Camp Nou and get smashed, but it's doubtful many will put up two goals. Although, in terms of marking and fitness, they did look poor as the second half dwindled on.
Starting XI: ter Stegen (6); Roberto (6), Pique (6), Umtiti (6), Jordi Alba (9); Busquets (7), Rakitic (7) Coutinho (6); Dembele (7), Suarez (7), Messi (9*)
Substitutes: Lenglet (6), Vidal (6), Arthur Melo (6)
Star Man - Lionel Messi
Goals and assists a plenty for Messi, it was just another day at the office for 'La Pulga'. Not exactly marked within an inch of his life, the diminutive maestro had freedom of his realm once again.
Howbeit, there were times when he unapologetically walked into what looked like darkness to everybody else, only to flesh out the most improbable of lights. For the whole 90 his hips and the ball went one way, while Huesca defenders followed another road.
The equalising goal showed his technical majesty for what seems like the umpteenth time, as Leo eviscerated a helpless Luisinho. Surrounded by his untouchable aura once again tonight, the five time Ballon d'Or winner was a sheer delight to watch.
Leo Messi is breaking ankles. Leo Messi is ending careers.— Barca Universal (@BarcaUniversal) September 2, 2018
Jordi Alba was also great, providing incredible width and an enviable engine. Possibly a performance to ponder for new Spain boss Luis Enrique, who has left the fullback out of his first international squad.
Worst Player - Samuel Umtiti
Not horrendous, it was just that the Frenchman could've done a little better for both goals. Caught under the ball for the first, his jump was mistimed and allowed Longo to knock down.
For the second, he tried to marshal Gomez wide, but the winger flicked the ball back into the danger zone for Gallar to finish. Subbed for Clement Lenglet just after the hour, manager Ernesto Valverde relieved him of his duties.
Starting XI: Werner (6); Miramon (5), Pulido (4), Etxeita (5), Luisinho (4); Alex Gallar (8*), Musto (5), Melero (6), Moi Gomez (7); Longo (6), Hernandez (7)
Substitutes: Gurler (5), Semedo (5), Avila (6)
Star Man - Alex Gallar
Young Alex Gallar now has three goals in three games after he finished the move for his sides second, and the midfielder showed little fear in the way he tried to take on Barcelona's defenders.
His first half display was certainly a stand out for SD Huesca, and the little man will no doubt score many more throughout the season. Making some nice runs in behind, Gallar looks to have quite the promising future ahead of him.
Worst Player - Luisinho
Not a great day for any of SD Huesca's back line, Luisinho probably had the worst of it. He's not the first, nor will he be the last, but the way Messi embarrassed him for the leveller will make for painful viewing.
Playing Jordi Alba onside for the third goal, his inability to step up effectively ended the contest. Tiring as Barca dictated possession, he failed to pick up Rakitic for the Croat's tidy finish.
All in all, a day to forget.
A comfortable result for Barcelona after a shaky start, Valverde will look for his side to show greater concentration defensively. However, three wins from three is as good as it gets heading into the international break.
The away side will have seen this match as somewhat of a throwaway, considering all the teams they'll fight to stay in La Liga with are likely to lose at Camp Nou. However, in Leo Franco they have an attacking-minded manager, and will be confident of garnering results going forward.