While all eyes were on Lionel Messi, 17-year-old Ansu Fati bagged a brace as FC Barcelona started the LaLiga season with a 4-0 win over Villarreal on Sunday night.
Teams: FC Barcelona 4-0 Villarreal
Date: 27 September 2020
Venue: Camp Nou
Barca broke the deadlock with a quarter of an hour gone. Clement Lenglet started the move with a long ball over the top for Jordi Alba, who cut it back for Ansu Fati and the teenager guided his strike with power into the top-left corner.
Four minutes later, Fati had his second. Philippe Coutinho led a counter from his own half and picked out Fati in acres of space in the left inside channel, who placed his effort low into the bottom-left corner past Villareal shot-stopper Sergio Asenjo,
Fati continued his torment of Mario Gaspar as he surged past the defender and drew the foul, with the referee pointing to the spot. Messi stepped up and the keeper guessed the right way but couldn't get a strong enough hand on the ball to keep it out.
A nightmare first half got worse for the visitors as they conceded their fourth goal on the stroke of the interval. Messi clipped a cross into the box, aiming for the run of Sergio Busquets. Pau Torres had to stick out a leg to prevent the midfielder from collecting the cross, but could only divert the ball past Asenjo.
In the 66th minute, Messi twisted and turned in the final third to open up space for a strike at goal. He connected sweetly with his strike, but Asenjo geot across to turn his attempt over the bar.
Six minutes later, Frenkie de Jong sent Jordi Alba down the left flank and he put in a perfect cross, but Messi could not apply the finish with the header as it went wide.
The Argentine magician came close once again in the 86th and new signing Miralem Pjanic bent a free-kick narrowly over the bar just before the final whistle as Barca failed to add to their first-half goals but opened their campaign with a convincing win nevertheless.