Barcelona had to settle for a 0-0 at home in their opening La Liga fixture against a determined Rayo Vallecano side.
Xavi opted to start three of his summer signings- Robert Lewandowski, Raphinha and Andreas Christensen– in the starting lineup after they were finally able to be registered with the league on Friday night but they could not find a way past last year’s 12th-placed finishers.
Lewandowski did have the ball in the net after just 12 minutes but his well-taken effort was ruled out for offside.
Raphinha then wasted Barcelona’s clearest chance of the first half to break the deadlock when the former Leeds United player fired over the crossbar from an Ousmane Dembele cutback.
Rayo Vallecano remained a constant threat on the break against Barcelona and Marc-Andre ter Stegen was twice forced into crucial interventions either side of half-time.
Xavi decided to call upon Ansu Fati, Sergi Roberto and Frenkie de Jong from the substitute bench in order to shake things up and it paid off immediately only for Ansu’s first-time shot to be parried away by the impressive Stole Dimitrievski.
Barcelona continued to dominate the proceedings without much luck as both Lewandowski and substitute Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang were unable to put away their chances.
The frustrations boiled over for the home side in the dying stages when Sergio Busquets was sent off for an apparent elbow leading to a second yellow card.
Despite being held Xavi will take heart from the fact that they managed to create several goal scoring opportunities which were lacking last season as he tries to lead his side to first league title since 2019.