Barcelona Dominate with a Brace from João Félix in Champions League
Joao Felix continued his dream start for Barcelona with two goals and an assist as his side swept past Royal Antwerp 5-0 in their first game in Champions League Group H.
The Portugal international, who scored on his debut in another 5-0 win over Real Betis at the weekend, was in superb form against the Belgians who were returning to top-level European competition for the first time in 65 years.
Barca boss Xavi showed no mercy to Antwerp as he brought Ilkay Gundogan and Raphinha into his starting line-up and watched his side predictably dominate the opening exchanges at the Nou Camp.
It took just 11 minutes for Felix to make the breakthrough when he cut in from the left and flashed the opener past visiting goalkeeper Jean Butez.
Felix turned provider in the 19th minute when he floated in a superb cross and veteran striker Robert Lewandowski pounced at the far post to steer home Barcelona’s second.
It continued a brilliant start for Felix, who figured for Chelsea last season but was deemed surplus to requirements and instead found himself loaned out from Atletico Madrid to the Nou Camp.
Antwerp’s nightmare reintroduction to the top level continued as the hosts made it 3-0 four minutes later, Raphinha’s cross clipping Jelle Bataille and flying beyond Butez and in off the far post.
Barca were in cruise control but should have extended their advantage before half-time as first Raphinha saw an effort stopped at point-blank range by Butez, then Alejandro Balde selfishly screwed a shot wide with team-mates lurking.
But it was all academic as the home side continued the one-way traffic after the break, making it 4-0 after 54 minutes when 19-year-old Gavi fired home after Lewandowski’s work had prompted another Barcelona attack.
The irrepressible Felix grabbed his second of the night in the 66th minute when he headed home from Raphina’s cross in what proved to be the last goal of a painfully one-sided contest.
Xavi introduced 16-year-old Lamine Yamal towards the end of the match, making the Spain international the youngest player to feature for Barcelona in the Champions League.
It also made Yamal the second youngest player to play in the tournament’s history, beaten only by Borussia Dortmund’s Youssoufa Moukoko.