Barcelona crushed Royal Antwerp 5-0 in the Champions League on Tuesday, with two goals from Joao Felix. This showed how determined they are to get back to the top of Europe’s best teams.
Barcelona is desperate to go far in this season’s competition, which they last won eight years ago. They have lost in the group stage twice in a row, which was very embarrassing.
Felix stood out for the Spanish champions on a stroll on a warm night in the Catalan capital. Robert Lewandowski and Gavi also scored, and an own goal helped them win.
Frenkie de Jong, a defender for Barcelona, told Movistar that Joao Felix has a lot of skill and ability, which he is showing.
“I hope he can keep working as hard as he is now. If he does, he will give us a lot.”
Barcelona’s win in 2015 was the last of four wins in a row during the club’s best decade, when current coach Xavi Hernandez was a key midfielder.
Xavi said that the club was still carrying the weight of those achievements and that the current team was under “brutal” pressure to do well in Europe.
It didn’t show against Antwerp. In their first Champions League game at the Olympic Stadium, Barcelona easily beat Marc van Bommel’s Belgian league champions.
After Felix and Joao Cancelo joined on loan at the end of the summer transfer window, Barcelona looked like a more lively team right away. Their great creativity in the final third led to back-to-back wins by five goals.
A century of Lewandowski
Felix scored the first goal for Barcelona after 11 minutes. Ilkay Gundogan set him up after a nice pass-and-move sequence.
Eight minutes later, Lewandowski scored the second goal from close range after a great pass from De Jong to Felix, who then crossed to the back post. It was the Polish forward’s 100th goal in Europe.
Jelle Bataille put a cross from Raphinha into his own goal in the 22nd minute, giving Barcelona a 3-0 lead.
Gavi scored the fourth goal early in the second half, after Barcelona had had the ball for a long time. His shot was a rocket that went into the top corner.
Felix scored Barcelona’s fifth goal when he headed in a dangerous cross from Raphinha to the back post. The home team kept up the pressure, and the pressure paid off.
Xavi brought in Lamine Yamal, a 16-year-old talent, to make him the second-youngest player in the history of the tournament.
The Spain winger almost became the youngest player to score, but he hit the side netting after getting around Antwerp goalie Jean Butez.
In their next European game at the beginning of October, Barcelona will go to Porto, which will be a tougher test than any other time since Lionel Messi left in 2021. However, Barcelona’s confidence is better than it has been since Messi left.
Xavi said that the first goal for Barcelona was to get out of their group and then worry about bigger problems. This was a confident first step.
De Jong added, “We have a very good team with a lot of talented players.”
“If we work well together and do what we need to do, we can fight for a lot of things.”