Deportivo Alaves claimed Barcelona’s scalp as they condemned the La Liga Champions to a shock 2-1 defeat at Camp Nou on Saturday.
Alaves had jut one attack in the first half but made it count as Deyverson’s goal gave the visitors a shock lead over Barcelona at half-time. Luis Enrique’s men returned after the break to level scores through Jeremy Mathieu but Alaves regained their lead 18 minutes and held off pressure to secure their first win of the campaign through Ibai Gómez.
Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez were named substitutes, meaning Paco Alcacer was free to make his Barca bow up top and Neymar appeared for the first time as an Olympic gold medalist.
New signing Jasper Cillessen also debuted between the sticks, Jeremy Mathieu started in central defence and Aleix Vidal and Lucas Digne came into the full-back positions for the Catalans.
Barcelona dominated possession in the first half, but Luis Enrique’s decision to sanction seven changes possibly affected their rhythm as the Catalans’ play was too slow and predictable.
Indeed, their first chance didn’t fall until midway through, when Aleix Vidal’s shot from a short free kick was tipped over the bar by Fernando Pacheco.
Their lack of cutting edge was duly punished as Deyverson got in front of the normally-reliable Javier Mascherano and met a cross from the right, which he poked past Cillessen.
Neymar was the only member of MSN starting in Catalonia, and he should’ve scored straight from the restart, when he was picked out by a square ball at the far post but couldn’t guide his diving header on target.
Barca’s below-par efforts in the final third left Alcacer a passenger until the end of the half as the striker laid the ball off to Ivan Rakitic in the penalty area with seconds to spare, but the midfielder could only send his effort wide..
Barcelona XI: Cillessen; Vidal, Mathieu, Mascherano, Digne; Busquets, Rakitic, Denis; Arda, Alcacer, Neymar
Alaves XI: Pacheco; Femenia, Laguardia, Alexis, Theo, Garcia; Torres, Llorente, Ibai; Deyverson, Edgar