Sun, 10 Dec 2023

MADRID, Sept. 19 (Xinhua) - Joao Felix starred with two goals and an assist as FC Barcelona got their Champions League debut off to a positive start with a comfortable 5-0 win at home to Royal Antwerp.

The Belgian side, coached by former Barca midfielder Mark van Bommel, are arguably one of the weakest sides in the tournament and Barca were quickly in control, passing the ball quickly.

A swift move found Joao Felix in a couple of yards of space in the Antwerp penalty area and he was able to cut inside and score with a low shot at the near post.

Eight minutes later, the Portuguese forward, who opened his account for Barca in their 5-0 win against Real Betis at the weekend, turned provider. Felix received a defense-splitting pass from Frenkie de Jong and crossed to the far post, where Robert Lewandowski scored from close range.

Luck was on Barca's side for their third goal four minutes later, with Raphinha twisting through the Antwerp penalty area and firing a shot that deflected off Jelle Bataille and ended up in the net.

Gavi pounded on a loose ball in the 53rd minute to add the fourth with a powerful left-foot shot, and Felix doubled his account for the night with a far-post finish after a Raphinha cross from the right.

With better finishing, Barca would have won by more in a game they controlled from start to finish, while their rivals received a difficult lesson on how hard the Champions League can be.

Meanwhile, Atletico Madrid were denied a win away to Lazio by a goal from home keeper Ivan Provedel in the last action of the match.

Atletico had looked to be on track for a vital win after Pablo Barrios' 29th minute shot took a big deflection on its way into the back of the Lazio net, but Provedel's header gave Lazio a point in what looks like a tough group.

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