Barcelona demonstrated their determination to return to the pinnacle of European football with a commanding 5-0 victory over Royal Antwerp in the Champions League on Tuesday. Joao Felix scored twice, showcasing his brilliance, while an own goal, Robert Lewandowski, and Gavi also found the net.
After suffering consecutive early exits in the group stage, Barcelona is eager to make a deep run in this season’s competition, having last won it eight years ago. Their 2015 triumph marked the end of a golden decade, during which current coach Xavi Hernandez played a pivotal role in midfield. Xavi emphasized the immense pressure on the current team to succeed in Europe.
Despite this pressure, Barcelona looked dominant against Antwerp, easily dispatching the Belgian title-winners in their first Champions League match at the Olympic Stadium. The loan signings of Felix and Joao Cancelo in the summer transfer window have added dynamism and creative quality to the team, evident in successive five-goal victories.
Felix opened the scoring with a skillful finish, followed by Lewandowski’s goal, marking his 100th European goal. An own goal and a blistering strike from Gavi extended Barcelona’s lead. Raphinha provided the assist for Felix’s second goal, sealing the 5-0 win.
Xavi also introduced 16-year-old Lamine Yamal, making him the second youngest player in the competition’s history. While tougher challenges await, Barcelona’s self-confidence has risen since Lionel Messi’s departure in 2021. Xavi’s immediate goal is to progress through the group stage, and this victory was a confident first step towards that objective.
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