FC Barcelona has regained pole position in La Liga table as they ensured a thumping defeat over Real Betis, at their home ground, thus marking the return of club football in style. For Barcelona, two of their latest recruits Joao Felix and Joao Cancelo have registered their debut goals. with Ferran Torres continuing his impressive scoring streak by rewarding Xavi with a direct free-kick goal, becoming the first player since legend Lionel Messi to do so.
FC Barcelona hammers Betis
FC Barcelona continue their impressive run in the domestic side as they have mauled Real Betis in their new home Estadi Olimpic, as they go on top of the table with 13 points from five games, winning four and drawing one. They have been one of the consistent teams of Europe this season, and last night was not an exception either, as Xavi’s brigade came off a flying start in the first half. Latest recruit from Atletico Madrid, Portuguese star Joao Felix, who had previously explained his childhood dream of playing for the Catalans, gave Barca a superb lead on the 25th minute, and Pichichi winner from last season, Robert Lewandowski grabbed the second, thus making it 2-0 before half-time. After the break, Betis thought of putting up a fight, but was blown away by Xavi’s mastermind tactics coupled with Ferran’s free-kick stunner and Cancelo’s debut goal.
Barcelona opted for their traditional 4-3-3 formation, with a far experienced and strong squad with new signing Joao Cancelo on his favorite right-back position. The defensive sector comprised familiar faces, as Araujo was injured and Kounde-Christensen combo was present to shoulder the central defensive duties, coupled with La Masia wonderkid Alejandro Balde on the left. Midfield comprised a seasoned trio, having the new “Busi”-Oriol Romeu in the center accompanied by the prodigal Gavi and Frenkie De Jong. A new face was comprising the attacking throng as Felix started his first game for the Blaugranas, accompanying Lewandowski in the center and Ferran on the wing.
Betis, on the other hand, started with a 4-2-3-1 formation, with three former Catalans in their starting line-up having Bellerin, Bartra and Chadi Riad. Former Real Madrid starlet Isco was accompanying sole striker Willian Jose up front.
Joao Felix scores his debut goal
Joao Felix has been one of the top stars who was dazzling in La Liga. Formerly with Atletico de Madrid, the Portuguese star has always been right on the money since international break, scoring one after coming off the bench. Last night, he was handed his debut start by Xavi, and he did not fail to impress with his tactics. A winger by origin, he also possesses the ability of playing as a center-forward. Former Southampton and Girona star Oriol Romeu, who has been a part of La Masia in his youth, was instrumental in Felix’s debut goal, as he played a curling pass which was saved by Betis stopper Silva when Felix hit the volley, but the Portuguese followed the rebound which went to the right side, and smashed the ball in from a competitive angle, thus giving Barcelona the much anticipated lead.
Lewandowski doubles the lead
Lewandowski, the Pichichi winner from last season, was once again on the scoresheet, when he was assisted by Danish defensive stalwart Christensen. But, the defender had Felix on his mind as he had played that pass to the Portuguese, which was left rolled by the former Atletico striker, foxing Betis stopper and falling in front of Lewa’s legs, who took a handy touch in the penalty spot and smashed the shot in to low corner, past Rui Silva. Thus, Felix was instrumental in both goals within the first half for Barcelona, as the Catalans led the score at half-time by 2-0.
Ferran scores a stunner
There has been a rumor in the streets of Barcelona that the La Liga champions are under a curse from someone which forbids the, to score from a direct free-kick. Incidentally, the last player to score a goal from free-kick was none other the legendary Lionel Messi, who is plying his trade in Inter Miami now, and is weaving his magic web in the streets of Miami. After that, no one has scored a goal from yards out in Barca colors, as Xavi’s men had tried several stars who would shoulder that responsibility, including Lewandowski, Pedri. But, last night, it was finally the end of this unwanted curse as Ferran, nicknamed the “Shark” who scored a stunning goal from the free-kick, as the Barca no.7 continues his impressive scoring streak.
Ferran’s effort just got swept past the Betis wall and hammered the right side of the box, with keeper Rui Silva getting no chance of pushing it away, thus Barca finally able to break the jinx of not scoring a free-kick since years.
Raphinha gets the fourth of the night
Brazilian winger Raphinha once again struck the right chords with his inch-perfect strike, after he received the ball at the edge of the box, and he let the ball roll out past opponent stoppers which left Betis custodian Silva in shock, with Barca adding one more to their tally.
Cancelo scores on his debut
Barcelona had seen one of the busiest and craziest transfer spendings this season, with special focus on deadline days. Last night, it was time for both of their new stars to showcase their worth, as both “Joaos” registered their name on scoresheet in their debut game. After Felix, it was time for Cancelo to prove his mettle and he delivered to his expectations. The former Manchester City and Bayern player, who has been instrumental in several games for Pep at the Etihad, scored a sublime finish after dragging the ball into the right with his right foot, before smashing in the fifth goal of the night, thus sending Barca to the top of the table and completing a harrowing rout of 5-0.
A clinical display of attacking brilliance coupled with perfect defensive mentality saw the defending champions hand a tantalizing defeat to Manuel Pellegrini side, which will look to regain its lost touch next week. For Barcelona, they gear up for their UEFA Champions League fixture against minnows Royal Antwerp, as they face the Belgian side two days later, in Montjuic.