Antwerp had to relive cruel echoes of the past in its debut in the group stage of the Champions League. As much as he initially tried to be the protagonist, remembering the best moments of his double triumph against AEK in the qualifying phase, Barcelona forced him to put his feet back on the ground in the most forceful way possible. The 5-0 final with which Xavi's team spoiled the party to the Belgian team, perhaps, brought them memories of their so far only participation in the maximum European competition, in the 1957-58 season, when Real Madrid got them off in a bad way in the knockout stages, winning them in Belgium by 1-2 and finishing the task at home with a devastating 6-0. Joao Felix, with two goals and an assist, was again one of the most outstanding in a match in which Lewandowski, Bataille, own goal, and Gavi also scored. [5-0: Narration and statistics]
Barça started the duel somewhat lethargic and Antwerp wanted to take advantage of it to take the initiative. As much as the Blaugrana signed the first serious approach to the rival area, it was the Belgians who had more possession and those who completed more passes. Until Xavi's, suddenly, woke up. Joao Felix, precisely, was in charge of throwing the first jug of cold water on his rivals after collecting a great pass from Gündogan and sending the ball away from the reach of the visiting goal in what, to tell the truth, was the first shot on goal of the match. And his second consecutive Barça goal.
The Portuguese, in fact, would again have a lot of prominence in the 2-0 action, just eight minutes after opening the scoring. A great diagonal from De Jong helped him to plant himself in the area, first, and, then, assist Lewandowski so that the Pole scored his fourth consecutive goal so far this season. And it would not take long for Barça to give what already seemed clearly a cruel tip to Antwerp. Bad luck struck the Belgians when the cross Raphinha was looking for was poisoned by touching Bataille's back and ended up in the back of the net to put the 3-0 in the luminous.
Joao Felix.Enric FontcubertaEFE
After the passage of both teams through the changing rooms at half-time, Antwerp seemed to jump back onto the pitch ready to at least cut the gap a little. However, it would be Barça who would punish the rival network very soon. Gavi, with a powerful shot from inside the area of the Belgians, would be responsible for sealing the 4-0 before the first ten minutes of the resumption were played. The win caused Van Bommel's team to place their lines closer to their goalkeeper. Rather than thinking about getting something positive, the idea had become to find the best way not to suffer more damage.
The clarity of the result, in addition, led Xavi not to take too long to make his first changes, which he would also take advantage of to promote the debut in the Champions of a Fermín López who was one of the great sensations of the preseason. Precisely, as a relay of Gavi. The attitude of taking a step back, however, would end up costing Antwerp dearly. Joao Felix, headed after a good cross from Raphinha, put his hand on the scoreboard with his second goal of the evening. The Barça players, in the final stretch, still had some more opportunity to make the distances even wider, but the score did not move again in what was another great night for the Barça in Montjuïc.
- Xavi Hernandez
- Joao Felix