A comprehensive victory gets Barcelona FC’s new era underway in the Champions League, as Xavi’s radically remodelled squad dispatched the Czech champions by a four-goal margin.
With Pedri and Dembele irrepressible at times and hat-trick hero Lewandowski at his lethal best.
The Catalan club saw off Plzen’s challenge, which was at its most vital for a brief period in the first half when they pulled to within a goal of their hosts.
Overall, it’s a job well done for Barca.
The visitors have several more tough tasks to face in the coming weeks.
BARCELONA (4-3-3): Marc-Andre ter Stegen;
Sergi Roberto, Andreas Christensen, Jules Kounde, Jordi Alba;
Franck Kessie, Frenkie de Jong, Pedri;
Ousmane Dembele, Robert Lewandowski, Ansu Fati.
VIKTORIA PLZEN (4-2-3-1): Jindrich Stanek;
Milan Havel, Ludek Pernica, Lukas Hejda, Vaclav Jemelka;
Pavel Bucha, Lukas Kalvach; Jan Sykora, Adam Vlkanova, Jhon Mosquera;
BARCELONA LEAD! On his first start for the club, Kessie strikes! An outswinging corner from the right finds the head of Kounde near the penalty spot, and the Frenchman’s cushioned nod-down lands perfectly in the path of his fellow new boy to score with a header from close range.
LEWY STRIKES! Barcelona go two goals ahead before half-time! A surging run through the centre by Roberto ends with a layoff to Lewandowski, and the latter takes two touches before unleashing an unerring finish into the bottom-right corner.
PLZEN, PULL ONE BACK! On the counter, Sykora scores for the Czech champions! Having saved an almost specific goal at the other end, Jemelka pops up in the Barca box, clipping over a ball from the left byline for his colleague to steer past Ter Stegen from close range! Plzen are back in it: 2-1 to Barca!
BARCA HAVE A THIRD! The home side restored their two-goal lead before the break, as Lewandowski steers in a header at the back post from close range! Once again, Dembele was Barcelona’s key creative force, and the winger’s cross picked the Polish hitman out.
LEWY GETS HIS HAT TRICK! Just onto the pitch, Torres picks out Lewandowski with a cute flicked pass into the striker’s path, and with typical aplomb, Lewy obliges – driving the ball past Stanek from the edge of the box and into the bottom-right corner.
BARCA BAG FIVE! Minutes after his assist upon arriving from the bench, Torres scores! A delightful lobbed ball over Plzen’s static back four by Dembele picks him out, and the Spain striker does not hesitate in volleying home from close range! 5-1!
So, what’s next?
While Barcelona now prepares to take on Cadiz, Bayern Munich and Elche in their final three games before the upcoming international break.
Plzen is set to host Inter in their next Champions League fixture.