Barcelona's Ferran Torres 'proud fans chant my name'

Winger has struggled for form and game time but put on a show in Catalans' 2-0 win over Cadiz

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Robert Lewandowski netted his 24th Barcelona goal to help the Catalans beat Cadiz 2-0 to restore their eight-point lead in La Liga on Sunday – but it was teammate Ferran Torres who caught the eye.

The Spain winger has struggled for form and game time this season, but with Ousmane Dembele injured and Raphinha rested ahead of Thursday's Europa League play-off return leg against Manchester United, the former Manchester City forward took his chance with both hands.

Torres was hyperactive, dribbling past defenders at pace and tying Cadiz's defence in knots in the first half.

One such run down the right saw him cross for Lewandowski after 43 minutes and although the Polish striker's effort was saved, Sergi Roberto was on hand to smash home the rebound.

Three minutes later Barcelona doubled their lead when Lewandowski collected the ball on the edge of the Cadiz box and fired a low strike into the bottom corner past Jeremias Ledesma.

"I work to show my football, it's true I've not had many minutes and (not had that much) importance in the team," Torres told Movistar.

"Every time the coach gives me his confidence, I go out to show him what I've got."

Some Barcelona fans sang Torres' name in response to his electric performance, encouraging the forward after his difficult spell.

"I'm proud that they chant my name," he added. "There is still work to do, the hard thing is to keep it up."

With one eye on Thursday's return leg at Old Trafford, Barca coach Xavi began with Sergi Roberto in midfield, replacing Pedri, who suffered a thigh injury in the Europa League 2-2 first leg draw with Manchester United last Thursday.

The coach passionately defended the Catalan after the game, saying he was a player often used as a scapegoat.

"I've heard the most unjust criticism [aimed at Sergi Roberto] in my life," Xavi told reporters.

"He's a homegrown player, with a spectacular attitude, always trying to help the team, he's unselfish."

Cadiz striker Roger Marti, who had a goal ruled out for offside early on, was infuriated as another was struck from the record in the second half.

Barcelona goalkeeper Marc-Andre ter Stegen was challenged by Cadiz defender Fali before Roger shot and the referee deemed the contact enough to be a foul.

Ter Stegen made a fine save to deny substitute Chris Ramos at the near post and keep yet another clean sheet, with Barcelona having conceded just seven goals from 22 matches in La Liga.

In Europe it has been another story, with Xavi hoping his side can prove more sturdy at the back against Manchester United than they were in the first leg.

Updated: February 20, 2023, 6:03 AM