Barcelona (AFP) – Barcelona kicked out some of its demons in the Champions League after crushing Hungarian young Ferencvaros 5-1 Tuesday, in his first European match since insulting Bayern Munich last season.
Lionel Messi won and then scored a penalty kick before 17-year-old Ansu Fati scored two impressive goals, netting one goal for himself and then creating another for Philip Coutinho.
Barcelona’s defensive weaknesses were never far at Camp Nou and Gerard Pique was sent off an hour earlier to prevent Tocmac Nguyen from scoring in the penalty area.
Ihor Kharatin fired the penalty kick, but the late goals from Pedri and Osman Dembele ended any hopes of a comeback and gave Barcelona some much-needed momentum before Saturday’s La Liga clasico against Real Madrid.
Barcelona puts a big win also at the top of Group G, but Pique’s red card means he will miss next week’s match away to Juventus, who had earlier beaten Dynamo Kiev.
That match in Turin will be a greater test of Barcelona’s abilities under new coach Ronald Koeman but his players at least have been smiling again, 67 days after their 8-2 embarrassment in Lisbon.
Fati was the star, his goal made him the first player under the age of 18 to score two goals in the Champions League.
But it was a good night for Barcelona’s youth in general, with Francisco Trenceau on the right side favoring Antoine Griezmann, before 17-year-old Pedri came along to score his first goal for the club.
– Fati wows –
Ferencvaros, led by coach Sergey Rebrov, went through four qualifying rounds, becoming the first Hungarian team to reach the group stage in 11 years.
They created several good holes, starting early with Nguyen finding the top corner only to be judged offside and Ezel striking the bar from eight yards.
But Barcelona was threatening too and when Messi was finally knocked down on the third attempt, he was able to finish a penalty and make him 16 seasons in a row to score in the Champions League.
Fati, who put the crowded Trinkau down the right, was perfectly blocked and Messi slammed the crossbar from one to one, even though the flag was raised.
Eldar Civic could have equalized for Ferencvaros and were punished when Fati returned to Frenkie de Jong before dashing in the back and slamming the ball into the Dutch’s twisted pass over the top.
He helped Fati reach third place shortly after the end of the first half as Messi found him on the edge of the penalty area. Fati hurried back to make way and toss the ball behind his standing leg at Coutinho, who shot inside the post.
Pique protested but had few complaints when he pulled Nguyen, who would definitely score after the race.
Khairatine turned around the penalty kick and there might be a nervous ending if Nguyen’s shot was not blocked well by slider Clement Lenglet.
Instead, Badri, as a substitute, was tucked in first and fourth for Barcelona, with Dembele making it 5 a minute before the end.