An Antoine Griezmann double allowed FC Barcelona to return to winning ways with an emphatic 5-2 La Liga win over Real Betis on Sunday.
Concise News reports that after the champions were surprisingly beaten 1-0 by Athletic Bilbao in their opening match of the season last week, they came back in style on Sunday.
Strikes from Carles Perez, Jordi Alba and Arturo Vidal completed a memorable day for the Catalans as they marked defender Gerard Pique’s 500th appearance for the club.
Barca, who were without injured forward Lionel Messi, started on the back foot and fell behind when Nabil Fekir netted with a sublime angled strike in the 15th minute.
Griezmann, who joined Barca last month from rivals Atletico Madrid, scored four minutes before half-timeto level the scores.
The French 2018 World Cup winner’s maiden goal for the club proved to be the catalyst the Spanish champions needed on the night.
They went on to score four more unanswered goals in 27 second half minutes.
Griezmann curled in from the edge of the box five minutes after the restart, while Perez made it 3-1 after 56 minutes before Alba struck on the hour from close range.
Substitute Vidal then finished off a wonderful team move 13 minutes from the end.
Loren netted a stunning consolation strike from 25 metres for the visitors following an errant pass from Griezmann two minutes later.
Coach Ernesto Valverde was able to bring on academy player Ansu Fati, who at 16 years and 298 days is the second youngest player in FC Barcelona’s history, late on.
The Catalans have three points from two La Liga games, while Real Betis have lost both of their games this season.
Atletico Madrid keep up winning La Liga start at Leganes
In related news, Atletico Madrid made it two wins out of two as Vitolo scored in the second half to secure a hard-fought 1-0 La Liga victory at Leganes on Sunday.
Atletico had never won in Spain’s top-flight at their fellow Madrid outfit’s Butarque stadium but Vitolo’s strike ensured they continued their impressive early season form.
New signing Joao Felix created the goal, picking up the ball on the right-hand side.
He drove at the Leganes backline before feeding Vitolo, who produced a composed 71st minute left-footed finish to put Diego Simeone’s side ahead.
After a first half largely devoid of goalscoring opportunities, both sides traded efforts after the break.
Saul Niguez hit the post for Atletico, while Leganes midfielder Jonathan Silva struck the crossbar with a free-kick.
Atletico goalkeeper Jan Oblak then produced a fine stop from Javi Eraso minutes before his side opened the scoring.
“I’m very pleased to get the win at a tough ground to play at and against a side who make life difficult for you,” Simeone told a news conference.
“We showed our intent in the first 20 minutes and I think we dominated the game. Then they improved and the match became a bit more diluted.”
Alvaro Morata wasted a glorious opening in the dying minutes that would have ensured a less nervy finish for the visitors.
But the capital city side remain just one of two sides, along with Sevilla, with a 100 percent league record this season.
“We needed to win and for that we tried many things over the 90 minutes and changed the system.
“We wanted to improve as the game went on. We won and all good,” Simeone added.
“Leganes are a side who irritate you. There’s no space, and they make the game comfortable for themselves.
“Yet, fortunately, we were able to change the dynamic of the game with our change of system.”
Having started the first two games of the season on the bench, goalscorer Vitolo will be hopeful of a start next time out as Atletico host Eibar on Sunday.
Simeone, though, sounded a warning to all of his top players, adding: “Players don’t start just because they do or don’t score.
“They start because of consistency, hard work and dedication.”