Barcelona started their 2017-18 La Liga campaign with a 2-0 victory over Real Betis at Camp Nou on Sunday night.
Wounded from a crushing defeat to Real Madrid in the Spanish Super Cup, the Catalan giants ensured that they would start their league season with all three points courtesy of two goals in the first half of action.
Betis were without the ball for much of the opening 30 minutes, but the visitors were dangerous when they had the chance to break, with Joaquin rolling back the years with some wonderful touches in the final third of the field.
Barcelona looked to have made the breakthrough in the 35th minute when Lionel Messi curled a sensational free kick towards the bottom corner, but the ball rebounded off the post as Betis survived another dangerous moment.
The home side finally opened the scoring in the 36th minute, however, when Betis defender Alin Tosca turned a low Deulofeu cross into the back of his own net under pressure from Messi.
The visitors should have been level two minutes later when Leon broke into the Barcelona box, but Javier Mascherano came from nowhere to make a wonderful challenge, and the resulting counter-attack saw the Catalan outfit move 2-0 ahead as Roberto swept a Deulofeu cross into the back of the net.
The first 10 minutes of the second period passed without incident. Deulofeu continued to cause problems in a wide position, although Betis were quite comfortable as they looked to stay in the contest.
Messi hit the woodwork once again in the 60th minute after curling a beautiful effort towards the bottom corner, with the Argentine again lighting up Camp Nou in the absence of Luis Suarez and Neymar.
Deulofeu and Alcacer were not quite the support act that Messi has become accustomed to in recent seasons, but the former ended what was an emotional night for Barcelona with two assists.
Nahuel Leiva had a decent opportunity to halve the deficit 20 minutes from time after finding space just outside the Barcelona box, although the on-loan Villarreal winger missed the target with a wild attempt.
Messi hit the woodwork for a third time in the 81st minute as a thumping effort rebounded off Adan’s post, and the 30-year-old could afford a slight smile on what was a frustrating evening for the stand-in captain.