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Barcelona Defeats Royal Antwerp 5-0 With Joao Felix Scoring Double


Barcelona’s new attacker Joao Felix scored twice in a 5-0 thrashing of visiting Royal Antwerp in their Champions League Group H opener Tuesday at the Estadi Olimpic Lluis Companys.

After several group-stage defeats, Barca gave debutants Antwerp a football lesson, controlling the ball with nimble passing while Felix, Lewandowski, and Gavi all scored.

“Between this win and the 5-0 against Betis on Saturday I think this is probably the best quality of play we’ve produced since I took over,” coach Xavi Hernandez said.

“This is the road we want to be on. The team’s making me proud.”

Felix scored the first goal for the home team with a low strike inside the near post.

Robert Lewandowski, a striker from Poland, became the third player behind Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi to reach 100 goals in European competition when the Portuguese set him up inside the box to double their advantage eight minutes later.

Raphinha assisted the five-time European champions with an own goal as his shot from a tight angle rebounded off defender Jelle Bataille after 22 minutes.

Just before halftime, winger Arbnor Muja had a chance to offer the visitors a glimmer of hope, but goalkeeper Marc Andre ter Stegen stopped his low shot from the edge of the box.

Following the break, Barca came back hungry to extend their lead in their 28th Champions League group-stage campaign, a record they share with Real Madrid.

They did not have to wait long, though, as Felix added a final goal with a header at Barca’s temporary home while Camp Nou is being renovated after Gavi made it 4-0 by slamming the ball into the roof of the net.

With only three shots on target, Antwerp, who was competing in the Champions League after winning their domestic league for the first time in more than 60 years previous season, was outclassed by Barcelona, who had 22 efforts.

The Belgian team is competing in Europe for the sixth time in a row, and after participating in the European Cup during the 1957–1958 season, this is their second appearance in the continent’s top club competition.

In the other Group H match, Porto defeated Shakhtar Donetsk 3-1 in Hamburg, the champion team from Ukraine.

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