What to expect from the USWNT’s September camp by Marjani Taylor
Robert Lewandowski celebrates after scoring his team’s second goal during the Champions League match between FC Barcelona and Royal Antwerp FC at the Estadi Olimpic Lluis Companys in Barcelona on September 19, 2023. (Photo by LLUIS GENE/AFP via Getty Images)
A night of firsts for João Félix as Barcelona began their Champions League journey on a strong note with a 5-0 win over Royal Antwerp.
Félix scored his first Champions League goal with the Catalan side as he opened the score in the 11th minute. Félix received the ball inside the area and with a little feint he deked Toby Alderweireld to place his shot past the keeper.
He wasn’t done as eight minutes later he provided the assist to Robert Lewandowski who only needed to make contact with the ball to pick up his 100th Champions League goal, joining the likes of Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo. Credit to Frenkie de Jong who delivered a wonderful pre-assist to Félix.
A sign of how things were going for Barcelona came in the third goal when Raphinha’s cross was deflected by Jelle Bataille for an own goal to go into halftime leading 3-0.
Barcelona did not let up in the second half as Gavi scored the fourth after a nice bit of play inside the box resulted in a couple of deflections before landing to the young midfielder who thundered a shot past the Antwerp keeper.
Félix would then pick up his second goal, and first brace for Barcelona, after heading in a superb cross from Raphinha.
Up 5-0, Barcelona toyed around with scoring a sixth and let up a couple of opportunities to do so. Lamine Yamal, who came in for Raphinha, let a few chances pass him by.
It was another all-around performance from Xavi Hernandez’s side who put five past an opponent for the second game in a row — and playing well in the process.
Both João Félix and João Cancelo performed well in their second consecutive start and so far have impressed in their loan spell. The switch back to a 4-3-3 with two wide forwards has seemingly revived Lewandowski and is starting to score goals again.
With Cancelo on the right, Barcelona’s defense looks infinitely more solid and who are still without Ronald Araújo.
Things are trending in the positive direction for Barcelona. They know the Champions League is going to be a major test and in their first outing, they’ve accepted it.
- Published on 09/19/2023 at 5:03 PM EDT
- Last updated on 09/19/2023 at 5:03 PM EDT