Barça finds the Champions League with happiness. Xavi’s players kicked off their European campaign with a resounding victory over Viktoria Plzen on Wednesday in the first day of Group C (5-1). Franck Kessié opened the scoring (13th), Robert Lewandowski offered himself a hat-trick (35th, 45th + 3 and 67th) while Jan Sykora had reduced the mark (44th) and Ferran Torres joined the party (70th ). The Catalans confirm their promising start to the season but the challenge will be more serious in a week on the lawn of Bayern, who went to win at Inter Milan at the same time (0-2).
Offensive from the first seconds, the Blaugrana immediately gave a lot of work to the defense of the timid champions of the Czech Republic, who had to pass three qualifying rounds before reaching the group stage. Ousmane Dembélé, but also the very active Sergi Roberto hit hard on the right. The former Rennais, however, also made a long pass that was too soft towards Jules Koundé, an unusual left central defender, who was overtaken by the Czech center-forward Thomas Chory in the central circle before going to take it back in front of his area (8th ).
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However, the two Frenchmen from Barça quickly forgot this alert, because Dembélé obtained a corner and dropped the ball on Koundé’s head from six meters for a throw-in which allowed Kessié to open the scoring from close range (1-0, 13th). The Ivorian opened his counter with his new team and launched the beautiful Catalan evening. The former Milanese again tried his luck with a grazing recovery, but Jindrich Stanek captured it without shaking (22nd).
An imperial Barça in attack, not in defense
The match almost changed when the referee awarded a penalty to Plzen after seeing Andreas Christensen holding Jhon Mosquera. The Danish defender was even going to receive a red card but the VAR intervened and instead sanctioned the attacker for an elbow in the face of his opponent and the penalty was finally canceled (26th). Recovered from this fright, Barça quickly went on the attack and Lewandowski doubled the bet with a perfectly precise axial strike (2-0, 34th).
Available, restless and very comfortable technically, the Polish serial scorer also allowed his team to redo the break with a diving header on a cross from Dembélé just before the break (3-1, 45th + 3). Viktoria Plzen had indeed reduced the score on one of its very rare offensives through Sykora after a cross from Vaclav Jemelka (44th).
Lewandowski sees triple
Gerard Piqué replaced Sergi Roberto on recovery and Koundé moved to the right of the Barcelona defense (46th). Xavi’s men were able to unfold their attacking game quietly and Lewandowski put it back by scoring with an axial shot close to the left post from Stanek, who however did not deserve it on the Camp Nou lawn and made many saves ( 4-1, 67th).
Entering the game in place of the more discreet Ansu Fati, Torres took advantage of a ladle from Dembélé to place the ball under the bar with a superb pivot volley in the race (5-1, 71st). Barça has fulfilled its mission of the day by outclassing the weakest opponent of a very tough group. The next installments will be of a different caliber, especially against Bayern who inflicted two heavy 3-0 defeats on them last year before ejecting them from the group stage. This time, however, Lewandowski will be on the Catalan side.
Andreas Christensen (FC Barcelona) against Tomas Chory (Viktoria Plzen)
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