Messi has Barcelona ticking against lively Ferencváros
Barcelona 5-1 Ferencváros: as it happened
Ronald Koeman’s Barcelona finally clicked as Leo Messi inspired a 5-1 victory over Ferencváros to get the Dutchman’s Champions League campaign off to a winning start and dispel the memory of a lacklustre 1-0 defeat at Getafe. The margin of victory will also provide a shot in the arm for a club that has been in the doldrums for most of the new campaign ahead of the first Clásico of the season against Real Madrid next weekend.
Messi opened the scoring from the penalty spot and had a hand in two more of Barça’s goals as the Argentinean put an uncharacteristically slow start to bed with his finest performance of the season to date. Barça’s captain has yet to score from open play but the spread of goals among Ansu Fati, Philippe Coutinho, Ousmane Dembélé and Pedri will have pleased Koeman.
A lively cameo from the Frenchman was also well-timed with Barcelona facing Real Madrid and Juventus in the space of a week. Dembélé’s run and pass for Pedri’s goal was a work of art and just the sort of application Koeman will expect from the winger, who is playing for his Barcelona future this season.
The victory was only marred by Gerard Piqué’s sending off. Beaten for speed by the electric Tokmac Nguen, the Barça defender hauled the striker back and was shown a straight red, ruling him out against Juventus. Barça may well appeal on the basis that a yellow might have sufficed, but it was still a rookie error from a veteran with his side cruising at 3-0.
Ihor Kaharatin scored from the spot to hand Ferencváros a consolation that also denied the otherwise excellent Neto another clean sheet. But in a solid all-round team performance Koeman will also have noted the growing confidence of his back-up keeper ahead of a testing few days that will go some way to answering some questions that before Tuesday’s win the Dutchman may have preferred to postpone until after the international break.
Next up, Juventus vs Barcelona at the Allianz Arena in a week's time. We'll be back for that one! Until then, thanks for joining.
That's about what most punters would have had before tonight's games in Group G.
It's a decent effort as well! Dibusz is forced into a save from the strike and that's all there's time for! Barça run out comfortable winners in the end but Piqué's red card is a bit of a blot on an otherwise decent night for Koeman. Barça will be without the defender in Turin against Juventus.
Dest is clipped by Kovacevic and Barça will have a free kick on the edge of the area.
And the Frenchman has a goal to add to his evening! Messi feints in the area, taking two defenders with him, and squares for Dembélé to thrash home from close range! That's his first goal for Barça in just over a year.
That goal has taken the wind from Ferencváros' sails and Koeman should be applauded for the changes he has made. Busquets has added some security at the back and that has given Barça a little more confidence going forward. Dembélé is a player with a point to prove and he has taken the opportunity handed to him.
That was Pedri's first goal for Barça on his first career Champions League appearance, but Dembélé deserves the plaudits for a truly remarkable assist.
Goooooooooooooool! Pedri! Dembéle goes on a glorious run on the right, dodging two challenges and taking four defenders out of the game with a clever pull back for Pedri to hammer into the back of the net unmarked!
Lenglet with a vital block to deny Boli from close range! Ferencváros are pushing for a secnod and that would really set the cat among the pigeons in Camp Nou.
Lovrencsics is on for Ferencváros.
Mak! The two subs combine as Boli tees up the Slovakian and his shot is hit hard into the side netting! Another decent chance for the visitors.
That chain of events has led Koeman to call on Busquets to shore up the midfield a little. It seemed that Barça were cruising towards the final whistle there but now down to 10 and with the visitors smelling history the Liga side are going to shut up shop.
Double attacking change for the visitors. Róbert Mak comes on for Zhubkov while Tokmac, who has been excellent, makes way for Ivory Coast forward Franck Boli
Piqué is off! Tokmac runs onto a ball lofted over the top and drives into the area. Piqué, who is always losing that foot race, pulls him back and the ref points to the spot and heads for his top pocket to send the Barça defender packing. And that's a straight red so Piqué will be out for the match against Juventus!
Dest and Dembéle combine on the left and it's out for a Barça corner.
Coutinho is flattened in midfield by Isael and Barça have a free kick.
Triple change for Barça. Ansu, Sergi Roberto and Trincão off, Pedri, Junior and Dembélé on.
Isael! The Brazilian and Tokmac combine again but the forward's effort is skied well over the bar. He was unmarked there and had more time than perhaps he realised.
It's not the best free he's ever hit though and thumps into the wall.
Free kick to Barça as Messi is floored on the edge of the area by Kovacevic. This is prime Messi range and he'll go for goal here.
Barcelona are playing with more freedom now and swarming over Ferencváros at the back. Kovacevic is robbed by Messi, who lays off and slips through to find the return ball. The defence manage to deny the Argentinean a shot but Barça are fully in control now and changes will be coming shortly we fancy witht he Clásico in mind.
Neto is off his line quickly as Tokmac Nguen bears down on a through ball. Good anticipation from the keeper there.
Messi twists and turns on the right side of the area, lays off to Ansu, who finds the Brazilian with a deft backheel. Coutinho then hammers a low shot first time past the grasp of Dibusz to make it 3-0 and Koeman can breathe now.
Barça get themselves into a pickle trying to play out from the back with the visitors snapping at their heels. Sometimes there is a case for just belting it and Dest finally decides that's the order of the day after almost being pickpocketed by Isael.
Trincão will hit better efforts in a Barça shirt... the Portuguese forward sent that one over to the corner flag. Ousmane Dembélé warming up for Barça.
We're back underway!
No changes on either side at the moment. Sergi Roberto is back for the second half.
Rebrov on the other hand may decide to throw caution to the wind to try and salvage something. Although Ferencváros' goal is the Europa League spot third place will give them, this is hardly a vintage Barça performance that requires damage limitation.
Barça were gradually exerting their dominance at the end of the half and racked up 13 shots in total over the course of the opening 45. Ferencváros have only managed three but one hit the woodwork and they did have the ball in the net although it was disallowed for offside. Koeman will be sure to instil in his players the need to keep it tight to prevent letting the visitors back in.
That said, Ferenváros have looked lively on the break and Barça's high line is inviting trouble given the pace of Tokmac Nguen. Still, the odds of a 3-2 away win are probably pretty long at this stage.
And that's the half! Not a second added after a cleanly contested opening 45. Barça will feel the job is pretty much done now with a two-goal cushion to take into the break.
Civic goes into the book for a clumsy challenge on Trincão, born out of frustration more than anything as the Portuguese has had the run of the left back so far.
Goooooooooooool! What a lovely strike! Ansu latches on to a glorious little chip over the top from De Jong and clips a shot past the keeper into the far corner!
Trincão is thoroughly enjoying his duel with Eldar Civic as he spins the Bosnian another yarn out on the right.
Roberto is back on but doesn't look comfortable. We assume he'll try and make it to half time so that Koeman can assess his options.
The visitors carve out another chance with some quick passing to take out Barça's high defensive line but the final shot from Sigér is well wide.
Messi! The Barça captain streaks through and hammers a shot into the woodwork but as with Ferencváros' effort earlier, the flag is up against the number 10.
Hmmmmmm, and Junior Firpo is out to warm up after Roberto signals to the bench. The right back is off temporarily and Barça are currently down to 10 men.
Aïssa Laïdouni finds his way into the book for a wild challenge on Sergi Roberto. The Frenchman took the Barça defender out with some gusto there.
Koeman is gesticulating wildly on the touchline, he clearly isn't happy with something positional in Barça's current set-up.
That should settle Barça a little. The home side have been playing rather edgily and have looked less than comfortable on the back foot with that performance at Getafe still clearly playing on some minds.
Gooooooooooooool! Messi! Dibusz guesses correctly but Messi's shot is low, hard and into the corner to give Barça the lead!
Penalty! Messi drives into the area, taking two defenders out, and Kovacevic trips the Barça captain! The ref has no hesitation and points to the spot!
Dávid Sigér gets a little talking to from the referee as he clips Sergi Roberto in midfield.
Trincão glides across the Ferencváros defence and tries to find Dest on the far side but the visitors, who have been pretty solid at the back, clear the danger.
Free kick to Barça, Messi sizing it up... he lays it off to Coutinho and the Brazilian hits his shot well over the bar.
Isael! The Brazilian rattles the corner of the bar and post with a cracking strike from close range after good build-up play from Tokmac. Ferencváros are really taking the game to Barça and have the weapons to do damage to a defence that for the most part have been caught on their heels by the incisiveness of the visitors' attack.
Ansu! Messi's attempt is blocked and the Spain international follows up but Ferencváros cut his cross out.
Tokmac almost gets away again but Lenglet had the measure of the striker there.
Ferencváros come again and Piqué is forced to hoof the ball clear awkwardly. The visitors are not rolling over here by any means, quite the opposite. Piqué's reaction that suggests he didn't expect to have much to do this evening.
Messi! The Argentinean attempts to find the top corner at the other end with a free kick but its high and wide.
What a run, what a strike, what a goal! Tokmac Nguen picks up the ball on the halfway line, drives forward, takes out Lenglet with a feint and hammers the ball past Neto into the top corner... only to turn around and see the lino's flag fluttering in the breeze!
Dest tries to get to the byline to send in a cross and Barça have another corner... Coutinho with the delivery and Lenglet arrives to meet it but sends his header over the bar.
Zubkhov nicks the ball off the boot of Sergi Roberto and concedes another corner for Barça. Messi whips it into the area this time but Dibusz punches clear.
The Argentinean hits it well, over the wall, but it's straight into the gloves of Dénes Dibusz.
Ansu is flattened by Miha Blazic and Messi will have a pop here wew fancy from about 25 yards out.
Corner for Barça. Messi takes it short to Coutinho and the visitors clean up with ease.
Ferencváros with plenty of the early ball. The visitors are intent on playing the ball out from the back and look pretty comfortable knocking it about in the opening exchanges.
We're off! Ferencváros get the ball rolling in Camp Nou.
The players are out on the pitch and the Champions League anthem blares out across an empty Camp Nou.
Here's how Group G stands
Meanwhile, in tonight's other game in Group G, Juventus got off to a winning start against Dinamo Kiev with two goals from Álvaro Morata sealing victory for the Serie A holders.
We are not far from kick-off now at Camp Nou as Barcelona attempt to put that 8-2 drubbing by Bayern Munich firmly behind them in the opening game of the 2020-21 campaign.
Speaking of the Clásico, you can find all the details of this weekend's match at Camp Nou right here.
Barcelona's players arriving at the stadium. It's a pretty attacking line-up from Koeman this evening. We assume he'll be trying to put the game to bed as swiftly as possible to take as many of his key players off ahead of the Clásico at the weekend. The five substitutes rule from the end of last season's Champions League still applies this campaign.
Ferencvarós starting XI confirmed
And here's Rebrov's starting XI, with few changes from the side that has started the Hungarian season in fine form with four wins and a draw from five games.
Barcelona starting XI confirmed
As we suspected, Koeman has erred on the side of caution tonight as he desperately needs a decent result here. Leo Messi, who could do with embellishing his stats this season as well ahead of the Clásico, starts up top with Ansu and Trincão while Coutinho and De Jong get the nod in midfield. Both Gerard Piqué and Clément Lenglet start in central defence.
Barcelona "not Champions League favourites" - Koeman
Speaking ahead of the game, Koeman admitted after last season's capitulation against Bayern Munich that Barça cannot be considered favourites and to an extent the Dutchman is on steady ground as he starts this campaign as he can hardly expect to deliver a result as humiliating as the one that saw Quique Setién shown the door.
Anything other than a comfortable victory tonight though and Koeman may find the ice under his feet a touch thinner on Wednesday morning.
For a more in-depth look at Barcelona's group, the opponents Koeman will face, not least Cristiano Ronaldo and Juventus, and the schedule for the Liga side in Group G, you can have a squizz at our group stage preview.
As ever, we've thrown together a brief preview for tonight's game, along with how and where you can follow the action where you are.
Koeman has a few issues in defence with Jordi Alba and Samuel Umtiti both out and it is expected Sergiño Dest and Junior Firpo will man the full back positions this evening to give the versatlie Sergi Robero a break. Rebrov has no injury concerns and will be able to field his preferred starting XI, which will probably mirror Koeman's 4-2-3-1.
Still, the Dutchman could not have asked for a more convenient opponent to get the ball rolling. Ferencváros have noe featured in the Champions League since 1995-96 and despite the solidity of Serhiy Rebrov's Hungarian champions, they will be up against it to make a dent in Barcelona despite last Saturday's result.
Adding to the pressure on Koeman this evening is the fact that Barça have not lost a home game in the Champions League since 2009 when Rubin Kazan pulled off a shock 2-1 win over Pep Guardiola's side.
Koeman will tonight become the fifth coach to take charge of at least six teams in the Champions League, after Carlo Ancelotti (eight), Claudio Ranieri (six), José Mourinho (six) and Rafael Benítez (six). However, he has the worst win ratio (26.3 per cent) of anybody to manage at least 50 games in the tournament.
It is also worth remembering that Real Madrid have a day less to prepare for the weekend's clash at Camp Nou, while Barça don¡t have to travel anywhere for either of these two games. That gives Koeman a slight advantage in terms of recovery times and Zinedine Zidane's side are hardly firing on all cylinders either after slumping to defeat against newly promoted Cádiz on the same day.
For a recap of how Barcelona's players performed in the Coliseum as Koeman tasted his first defeat at the helm, look no further than our player ratings from the game.
Ronald Koeman will be looking for a response from his side after the weekend's 1-0 defeat at Getafe. Although there is the small matter of a Clásico at the weekend, the Barça boss will be only too aware that anything other than a pretty thumping victory against the side fancied to finish firmly at the bottom of the group will not go down well with his paymasters so all the talk of Leo Messi, Antoine Griezmann, Frenkie de Jong and Ansu Fati getting the evening off may be wide of the mark.
Barcelona vs Ferencváros live: welcome
Hello and welcome to AS English's live coverage of the Champions League Group G match between Barcelona and Ferencváros. Kick-off at Camp Nou is at 21:00 CEST.