On Tuesday night, Barcelona began their journey in their second official competition of the season as they took on Royal Antwerp on the first matchday of the UEFA Champions League.
The expectations for Xavi Hernandez’s men heading into the new iteration of the competition were sky-high, especially after they made two consecutive group stage exits in recent years. This time around, there are no excuses for the Blaugranas to disappoint in Europe.
On the night, Xavi opted to start the same defensive line as the last league match, with only one change in midfield.
Gavi, Frenkie de Jong, and Ilkay Gundogan started in the middle of the park, while Robert Lewandowski, Raphinha, and Joao Felix played in the attack.
It was one-way traffic right from the get-go. Royal Antwerp never settled into the game and got going, while Barcelona appeared comfortable from the very first whistle.
It only took eleven minutes for the hosts to net their first goal of the night and take home the lead. Like the game against Real Betis, it was Joao Felix who did the honours.
A lovely one-two between Gundogan and Lewandowski helped set up the Portuguese star who took a touch, settled himself, and tucked the ball away with ease.
Eight minutes later, Barcelona were back celebrating voraciously on the field. The opening this time was created by Frenkie de Jong who found Joao Felix in space. The scorer of the first goal expertly lobbed the ball into Lewandowski’s path for a simple volleyed finish.
Two goals to the good, Barcelona were in the driver’s seat. Raphinha rubbed salt into Royal Antwerp’s wounds in the 22nd minute of play when his chipped cross from the left of the box clipped a defender and found its way into the back of the net.
The Blaugranas’ first-half chances did not end there, and the story could have been far worse for the visitors. However, Antwerp delivered a better defensive show for the remainder of the first period and entered the breakdown by three…
Source link : https://barcauniversal.com/barcelona-5-0-royal-antwerp-match-review/
Author : Adithya Eshwarla
Publish date : 2023-09-19 20:52:04
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