Joao Felix scored twice as Barcelona displayed their power with a commanding 5-0 victory over Royal Antwerp within the Champions League Tuesday, reaffirming their resolve to reclaim a spot amongst Europe’s top-tier golf equipment.
After consecutive humiliating group stage eliminations, Barcelona are determined to go deep on this season’s competitors, final profitable it eight years in the past.
The victory adopted a 5-0 thrashing of Actual Betis on Saturday, main coach Xavi Hernandez to explain these two performances as one of the best since he joined the membership in November 2021.
“I feel these final two video games are one of the best degree we’ve got proven with me as coach – it is the trail to observe,” he informed Movistar.
Felix shone for the Spanish champions on a stroll on a heat evening within the Catalan capital, helped on their method by an personal aim, with Robert Lewandowski and Gavi additionally scoring.
After a troubled spell at Atletico Madrid and a good worse mortgage at Chelsea, the Portuguese ahead lastly appears able to flourish.
“All of us performed very well, I’m proud of the win and having fun with myself,” mentioned Felix.
“Essentially the most tough factor now’s to take care of this degree. I’ve began nicely, the workforce is taking part in nicely.
“Attending to this degree it isn’t essentially the most tough factor, it is sustaining it. All of us must work exhausting to do this.”
Barcelona’s 2015 triumph was the final in a run of 4 victories over a golden decade within the membership’s historical past, throughout which present coach Xavi Hernandez was a key determine in midfield.
Xavi mentioned these feats weighed heavy on the membership now, that the present workforce have been beneath “brutal” stress to reach Europe.
It didn’t present towards Antwerp, with Barcelona brushing apart Marc van Bommel’s Belgian title-winners with ease of their first Champions League look on the Olympic Stadium.
With Felix and Joao Cancelo becoming a member of on mortgage on the finish of the summer time switch window, Barcelona instantly appeared a extra dynamic aspect, with supreme artistic high quality within the closing third mirrored in successive five-goal wins.
Felix opened the scoring for Barca after 11 minutes with a advantageous drilled end after a neat passing transfer ended with Ilkay Gündoğan feeding him.
Lewandowski added the second eight minutes later from shut vary after Frenkie de Jong’s very good ball discovered Felix, who crossed to the again submit. It was the veteran Polish striker’s a hundredth European aim.
Barcelona went three objectives up inside 22 minutes when Raphinha’s cross was deflected into his personal internet by Jelle Bataille.
Gavi added the fourth early within the second half with a blistering strike into the highest nook after an extended spell of Barcelona possession.
Raphinha created Barcelona’s fifth with a vicious cross to the again submit the place Felix nodded house because the hosts saved up the stress.
“Joao Felix has loads of high quality, loads of expertise and he is displaying it,” De Jong informed Movistar.
“I hope he can hold going like this. If he retains working like now, he’ll give quite a bit to us.”
Xavi introduced on 16-year-old starlet Lamine Yamal to grow to be the second youngest participant of all time within the competitors’s historical past.
Harder challenges lie forward, together with a go to to Porto of their subsequent European sport firstly of October, however Barcelona’s shallowness is increased than at any level since Lionel Messi left in 2021.
Xavi mentioned Barcelona’s goal was to make it by way of the group first earlier than worrying about greater challenges, and this was a assured first step.
“It is an honor to observe the workforce play in the meanwhile however we’ve got to stay constant now,” warned the Catalan coach.
“Now we have to take care of these performances, the starvation, the main focus… the gamers are having fun with themselves, we’re creating quite a bit in assault.”
Xavi’s reverse quantity, a former teammate of his at Barcelona, praised the hosts’ show.
“For me, Barca, with how they’ve developed and advanced, in fact, they’ve an opportunity of profitable the Champions League,” mentioned Antwerp coach Van Bommel.
“However they want some luck … there are loads of elements.”