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Barcelona makes winning start at temporary home stadium

Featured image credit: FC Barcelona

FC Barcelona yesterday (Sunday) marked its first LaLiga match at Estadi Olímpic Lluís Companys with a 2-0 victory over Cádiz.

The match attracted a crowd of 39,603, roughly 80% of the overall 54,367 capacity. Estadi Olímpic Lluís Companys is serving as the temporary home of Barcelona while the club’s Camp Nou stadium undergoes major renovation work.

Barcelona did play a pre-season friendly at Estadi Olímpic earlier this month but yesterday marked the club’s competitive debut at the stadium, which previously served as the home of RCD Espanyol between 1997 and 2009.

Late goals from Pedri and Ferran Torres secured the three points for Xavi’s side in a game that saw Lamine Yamal become Barcelona’s youngest ever starter in a LaLiga fixture at the age of just 16 years and 38 days.

Barcelona will be playing at the Estadi Olímpic until November 2024 while the Camp Nou is transformed. The club officially commenced work on the Camp Nou expansion in May, with the project set to add a roof to the stadium and increase its capacity from 98,000 to 105,000.

The club has predicted a hit of almost €100m (£85m/$109m) to matchday revenue during the temporary relocation. Barcelona president Joan Laporta said in January that the potential loss made him feel “dizzy”.

Ahead of yesterday’s match, Barcelona advised fans to arrive at the stadium early, with the gates opened 90 minutes before kick-off. Fans were also advised to use public transport, with parking at the stadium limited.

Following the match, Xavi said: “I really liked how the fans supported the team the whole time. This is very positive for the club. The crowd responded nicely. It was a good start and they will keep supporting us even more.”

The Estadi Olímpic, which was formerly known as the Estadio de Montjuïc, is owned by Barcelona City Council. It was used as the centrepiece of the 1992 Olympic Games in Barcelona.

The Camp Nou revamp forms part of the wide-ranging Espai Barça project, which also includes a new Palau Blaugrana arena and the wide-ranging Campus Barça development.