Barcelona showcased their dominance in the Champions League Group H opener as they defeated visiting Royal Antwerp with an impressive 5-0 victory at the Estadi Olimpic Lluis Companys on Tuesday. The match saw Barcelona’s new forward, Joao Felix, shine with a remarkable brace, while Lewandowski and Gavi also found the net.
A Football Masterclass
Barcelona left no room for doubt regarding their intentions in the match, giving a football masterclass to the debutants, Royal Antwerp. With precise and quick passing, Barcelona dominated possession and created numerous goal-scoring opportunities. Coach Xavi Hernandez expressed his satisfaction with the team’s performance, stating, “Between this win and the 5-0 against Betis on Saturday, I think this is probably the best quality of play we’ve produced since I took over. This is the road we want to be on. The team’s making me proud.”
Joao Felix Opens the Scoring
Joao Felix, who was a last-minute signing for Barcelona, wasted no time in making his mark. In the 11th minute, Felix scored the home side’s first goal with a low strike into the near post. This set the stage for an impressive performance from the Portuguese forward.
Felix continued to shine as he assisted Robert Lewandowski in doubling Barcelona’s lead only eight minutes later. Lewandowski’s goal made him the third player to score 100 goals in European competition, joining the ranks of Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi.
Raphinha and Gavi Extend the Lead
In the 22nd minute, Raphinha added to Antwerp’s woes by slotting the ball into the net from a tight angle. Unfortunately for Antwerp, the strike deflected off defender Jelle Bataille, resulting in an own goal. The visitors had a chance to regain some hope just before halftime, but goalkeeper Marc Andre ter Stegen denied Arbnor Muja’s effort.
Barcelona returned from halftime determined to extend their lead even further. In their 28th Champions League group-stage campaign, the team set a competition record shared with Real Madrid. Gavi contributed to Barcelona’s strong performance by smashing the ball into the roof of the net, making it 4-0. Joao Felix concluded the rout with a header, marking his second goal of the match.
Dominance on Display
Barcelona’s dominance was evident throughout the match, as they recorded a staggering 22 goal attempts compared to Antwerp’s three. Antwerp, playing in the Champions League for the first time in over 60 years after winning their domestic league title last season, experienced the challenges of facing one of Europe’s leading clubs.
Antwerp coach Mark van Bommel acknowledged Barcelona’s superior performance, stating, “(Barcelona’s) first three shots on target were three goals for them. They are on top of the world. That makes sense, they keep playing, tapping, turning, that’s where we have to go, but we’re still a long way from that, but that’s no shame. That is a very big learning moment for us.”
Group H Results
In the other Group H clash, Porto secured a 3-1 victory over Ukrainian champions Shakhtar Donetsk in Hamburg. These results set the stage for an exciting competition in Group H.
Barcelona’s impressive 5-0 victory against Royal Antwerp showcased their footballing prowess and signaled their ambitions in the Champions League. Joao Felix’s double and Lewandowski’s milestone goal contributed to Barcelona’s memorable performance. Antwerp, on the other hand, gained valuable lessons from the match as they continue to grow as a team in the elite European competition.