Barcelona have kicked off their 2023-24 Champions League campaign in emphatic fashion. The Catalans gave Royal Antwerp a very tough welcome to the group stages, defeating them 5-0 at the Olympic Stadium in Montjuic.
Joao Felix got the ball rolling early on. The Portuguese was played in by Ilkay Gundogan – one of two changes from the victory over Real Betis on Saturday – and he finished at the near post to give Barcelona a dream start.
Felix was involved in the second, too. His delicious cross was met by Robert Lewandowski at the back post, and the Polish international made it 2-0. In the process, he notched his 100th goal in UEFA club competitions.
Barcelona’s third arrived four minutes later, with Raphinha’s cross deflecting off the unfortunate Jelle Bataille and into the back of the net, ensuring a very comfortable lead for Xavi Hernandez’s side going into half time.
Barcelona added a fourth 10 minutes into the second half. The ball broke to Gavi inside the penalty area, and he fired into the roof of the net. It was a momentous occasion for the 19-year-old, as he scored his first Champions League goal.
Felix made it 5-0 after 66 minutes. Raphinha delivered his own inviting cross to the back post, where the 23-year-old was waiting to notch his second of the evening. However, there would be no hat-trick as he was substituted right after scoring.
Lamine Yamal passed up two big opportunities to score his first Barcelona goal, but it mattered little for the Catalans as they eased to a comfortable victory. They top the group in the process, with FC Porto in second.