The UCL anthem has returned to Camp Nou Spotify after a nine-month break as the Catalans prepare to kick off their 2022-23 Champions League campaign.
Barcelona has been drawn into the group of death with Bayern Munich and Inter Milan. The team’s fourth game against Viktoria Plzen was a victory in such circumstances. The Blaugrana brought in Michal Bilek on Wednesday night, aiming to get their campaign off to a winning start.
Xavi Hernandez was rotated several times starting in defense with Andreas Christensen, Jordi Alba, and Sergi Roberto in front of the midfield clash. Gavi and Sergio Busquets become Frank Cassie and Frankie de Jong respectively. In attack, Ansu Fati replaced Raphinha and made his first start in almost a year.
From the start, Xavi’s side dominated proceedings. Barcelona had 81% possession and 12 goals in the first half. However, guests have the occasional opportunity to rest.
The scoring started in the 13th minute from a Barcelona corner. Jules Kounde found himself at the end of the build-up and headed for the bar, similar to his assist for Eric Garcia at the weekend. This time it was Frank Cassie who received the assist and put the ball into the back of the net.
In the 23rd minute, Christensen collided with Mosquera in the Barcelona box. Emin first awarded a penalty to Bichel’s side and gave the defender a red card. However, a VAR review revealed that the Plzen striker had hit Christensen first. The penalty was overturned and Mosquera saw yellow.
Robert Lewandowski scored Barcelona’s first UCL goal in the 34th minute in spectacular fashion. Sergi Roberto’s ball didn’t need many touches to break past the Polish striker. He beat the defense twice and fired into the bottom corner from outside the box.
Pedri’s effort was cleared in the 40th minute. Although, Plzen drag one back in the 44th minute. A quick counter saw Jemelka’s ball through Ter Stegen and Sykora’s head safely into the net.
The Blaugrana took a two-goal lead in the final minute of the first half. The goal was only made possible by Dembele’s determined effort to lose the ball before sending a perfect cross wide of the far post. Lewandowski once again made no mistake in sending the ball home.
Gerard Pique saw his first minutes of the season suffering an early second-half injury. Barcelona was going somewhere, but the first 20 minutes of the second half were a bit of a stretch.
Robert Lewandowski completed his hat-trick in the 67th minute and did it in style. Ferran Torres cleverly set up the post after picking up De Ongo’s pass to create a chance. After receiving the ball from outside the box, the striker smashed it with precision in front of the goalkeeper.
Under five minutes later, Torres scored a goal to count his assist. Substitute Dembele’s header was accurate, turning first into the top corner to make it five for Barcelona.
In the 75th minute, Pedri and Dembele were replaced by Xavi and Memphis. No. 8 received a standing ovation from Camp Nou and left with the entire stadium chanting his name. Pablo Torre came on for Barca five minutes later, replacing Cassie.
BARCELONA 5-1 VIKTORI PLA PLZEN: LEWANDOWSKI won a comfortable opening
Robert Lewandowski scored a stunning hat-trick as Barcelona secured a much-anticipated and thrilling win over Plzen thanks to the hosts’ creativity and pace.
Barca took it after the Plzen goal and took the lead in the 13th minute when Franck Kessie headed home after Jules Kunde made first contact from a corner.
It looked like an example of how much time it was, but when Jhon Mosquera was fouled by Andreas Christensen and Christensen, he pointed to the referee and drew a red card. But a VAR review showed that Christensen had followed Mosquera’s elbow, so the decision was overturned.
Shortly after, Lewandowski’s superb header gave Barca a 2-0 win and although San Sykóra pulled one back for Plzen, Lewandowski led his side in the second half and third half after great work from Ousmane Dembele.
There was a scare for Plzen as they emerged after the break, with superb goals from Lewandowski and Torres putting them further ahead. But with this latest signing, you doubt there will be another team that feels the power of Barca’s attack
The game ended 5-1 for the Catalans. The Czech champions were completely blown away at Camp Nou by one goal. However, Barcelona will take on Bayern Munich in the UCL next week and all eyes will be on the high-voltage match at the Allianz Arena.