Barcelona kicked their UEFA Champions League campaign off with a resounding 5-1 victory against Ferencvaros at the Camp Nou earlier today. The Catalans comfortably dominated most of the game, with five different players stepping up to score each of the goals in what was an ominous statement of intent by the Blaugrana.
While Gerard Pique's red card and subsequent suspension against Juventus might have dampened a successful outing, Ronald Koeman will be thrilled with Barcelona's young stars after their performance against Ferencvaros. The likes of Ansu Fati, Francisco Trincao, and Pedri made a massive impact for Barcelona and will continue to play important roles for the team this season.
Barcelona thoroughly dominated the opening stages of the game and consistently pushed into the Ferencvaros half. The Catalans' high back-line was nearly punished after Tokmac Nguen found the back of the net on a counter but the Ferencvaros striker was in an offside position.
The first genuine chance of the game surprisingly fell to Ferencvaros as some excellent work by Nguen resulted in Isael Barbosa's shot thundering against the upright. Barcelona dominated most of the first half but Ferencvaros continued to present a threat on the counter.
Lionel Messi proved to be too much of a challenge from the Hungarians, however, and a mazy run into the box saw the Argentine win a penalty for his side. The Barcelona captain stepped up to give the home side a well-deserved lead.
Barcelona's teenage prodigy Ansu Fati latched on to a sumptuous through ball by Frenkie de Jong and doubled his side's lead at the stroke of half-time. The Catalans created several chances in the first half against a Ferencvaros outfit that allowed Barcelona far too much space and time on the ball.
Barcelona started the second half with a sense of purpose and some excellent work by Lionel Messi and Ansu Fati in the penalty area saw Philippe Coutinho score his side's third goal.
The game took a turn for the worse for Barcelona at the hour-mark, however, as an error from Gerard Pique handed Ferencvaros a lifeline and reduced Barcelona to ten men. The Hungarians did pull a goal back and tried to claw their way back into the tie but Barcelona's attacking prowess continued to amplify their misery.
With Ousmane Dembele and Pedri scoring their first goals of the season in the second half, Barcelona's convincing performance against Ferencvaros holds the Catalans in good stead ahead of a crucial La Liga fixture against Real Madrid this weekend. Apart from one notable exception, Barcelona's talented stars enjoyed field days against Ferencvaros and will have regained plenty of confidence.
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Barcelona Player Ratings
Neto - 6.5/10
Neto was a mere spectator for most of the match and had one of his most comfortable games in a Barcelona shirt. The Brazilian shot-stopper did make an excellent save in the second half as Ferencvaros tried to drive home their numerical advantage.
Gerard Pique - 3/10
While Barcelona's veteran defender did win the ball several times in the first half, common sense and experience seemed to desert Gerard Pique in a moment that could come back to haunt the Catalans in a week's time.
Pique's blatant last-man challenge on the impressive Tokmac Nguen has earned the defender plenty of criticism and a suspension against Juventus next week.
Clement Lenglet - 7/10
Clement Lenglet had very little to do for most of the game but had to step up after Pique's red card in the second half. The French defender effectively repelled most of Ferencvaros' attacks and made a crucial block towards the end of the game.
Sergi Roberto - 6/10
Sergi Roberto had a comfortable game on Barcelona's right flank as Ferencvaros rarely used the wings as an outlet. The Barcelona veteran did not have much of an impact in the final third and was taken off at the hour-mark.
Sergino Dest - 6.5/10
Sergino Dest was impressive on the left flank and spent most of his time in Ferencvaros' half of the pitch. The young American linked up well with Ansu Fati and will get his fair share of opportunities under Ronald Koeman.
Frenkie de Jong - 7.5/10
Frenkie de Jong displayed shades of his best self against Ferencvaros and bossed the game in the first half. The Dutch midfielder assisted Ansu Fati's goal with an exquisite lob and made Barcelona a cohesive unit with his link-up play.
The Dutch midfielder adopted a more defensive role after Pique's red card but will need to replicate his first-half showing against Real Madrid this weekend.
Miralem Pjanic - 6/10
Miralem Pjanic served as an effective foil to Frenkie de Jong in Ronald Koeman's double pivot but did not particularly express himself on the pitch. The Bosnian midfielder had a comfortable outing nonetheless and will want to improve as the season progresses.
Philippe Coutinho - 8/10
Philippe Coutinho continues to impress in the attacking midfield role given to him by Ronald Koeman. The Brazilian won the ball back in attacking areas of the pitch on several occasions and his work-rate gave Barcelona a cutting edge in the final third. Coutinho scored a well-deserved goal in the second half to give Barcelona a momentary three-goal cushion.
Francisco Trincao - 7/10
Francisco Trincao had a positive outing and was consistently able to torment the Ferencvaros right-back. The Portuguese winger created several chances for his side and nearly bagged an assist with a well-placed cross. Trincao does have some work to do with his final product but the youngster's performance tonight is an excellent indication of his burgeoning potential.
Ansu Fati - 8/10
Ansu Fati had no qualms about taking on his man in the first half and forced an excellent save from Ferencvaros goalkeeper Denes Dibusz. The teenager got his goal at the end of the first half with a well-timed run and a typically efficient finish.
The Barcelona prodigy remained one of the chief threats for his side in the second half and produced an excellent touch that resulted in the Blaugrana's third goal. Ansu Fati was taken off at the hour-mark and will likely play an important role in El Clasico this weekend.
Lionel Messi - 8.5/10
Lionel Messi burst into life 20 minutes into the game with a characteristic dribble that Ferencvaros were simply unable to handle. The Barcelona captain stepped up and calmly put the ball in the back of the net to score his first goal of this UEFA Champions League campaign.
The Argentine talisman continued to dominate the opposition in the second half as he looked to add to his tally. Lionel Messi bagged an assist in the final minutes of the game and his performance tonight might allude to the possibility that the enigmatic Barcelona captain is recovering his best form.
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Pedri - 7.5/10
Pedri has worked hard for Barcelona in recent weeks and the 17-year-old midfielder was finally rewarded with his first official goal in Blaugrana colours. The Spanish youngster seems to have an excellent footballing brain and can potentially become an important player for Barcelona in the future.
Ousmane Dembele - 8/10
Ousmane Dembele was given the perfect opportunity to find his feet tonight against Ferencvaros and did not disappoint with his quickfire cameo. The pacy French winger minced the Ferencvaros defence to assist Pedri's goal and followed it up with a strike of his own to add some shine to Barcelona's scoreline.
Junior Firpo - 6/10
Junior Firpo was brought on to the pitch in the second half and was unable to make much of an impact on the game. With Sergino Dest continuing to impress and Jordi Alba's potential return at the end of the month, the left-back is set to remain on the fringes of the Barcelona squad.
Ronald Araujo - 7/10
Ronald Araujo had to make up for Gerard Pique's unexpected absence in the second half and looked comfortable alongside Clement Lenglet despite the numerical disadvantage. The Uruguayan will face a much bigger test against Juventus next week and will have to be at his best.
Sergio Busquets - 6/10
Sergio Busquets spent only 15 minutes on the pitch as a late substitute and did not have much of an impact against Ferencvaros.
Published 21 Oct 2020, 03:28 IST