Barcelona 5-1 Ferencvaros: Messi on target as Pique sees red
Gerard Pique’s dismissal could not derail Barcelona as they started life in Group G with a comfortable victory over Ferencvaros.
Lionel Messi and Ansu Fati were on target as Barcelona opened their Champions League campaign with a thumping 5-1 win over Ferencvaros at Camp Nou on Tuesday, although Gerard Pique was dismissed for the hosts.
Ronald Koeman’s side suffered a surprise 1-0 defeat to Getafe in LaLiga at the weekend and looked shaky in the early stages against their Hungarian opponents, who were making their first appearance in the Champions League group stages for 25 years.
Messi’s penalty shortly before the half-hour mark settled any nerves, though, while Fati doubled their advantage in the 42nd minute.
Philippe Coutinho added a third early in the second half before Ihor Kharatin pulled one back for the visitors from the penalty spot after Pique had been dismissed for bringing down Tokmac Nguen inside the area. Barca had the final say, however, substitute Pedri scoring his first goal for the club eight minutes from time and Ousmane Dembele adding a late fifth.
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Ferencvaros were far from overawed in the early stages against their illustrious opponents, twice going close to taking the lead inside the opening 20 minutes.
Nguen had a fine strike ruled out for offside before Isael crashed a powerful drive against Neto’s crossbar from 10 yards.
They were left to rue those close calls in the 27th minute when Messi powered home from the spot after he had been tripped in the area by Adnan Kovacevic.
It made the Argentina international the first player in Champions League history to score in 16 consecutive seasons.
Fati was denied by the outstretched leg of Denes Dibusz but then got the better of the Ferencvaros goalkeeper three minutes before the interval, steering a volley inside his left-hand post after a sublime looped pass from Frenkie de Jong.
Fati turned provider for Barca’s third seven minutes after the restart, Coutinho receiving his impudent back-heeled pass before sending a deflected effort past Dibusz.
Kharatin restored some pride for the visitors 20 minutes from time after Pique clumsily hauled down Nguen as he entered the penalty area following a ball over the top.
Any hopes of a dramatic comeback were extinguished, however, as Pedri turned home from 12 yards and Dembele thundered home from Messi’s pass in the final 10 minutes to seal a comfortable three points.