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Antoine Griezmann Scores Twice in Barcelona's 5-2 La Liga Win over Real Betis

James Dudko@@JamesDudkoFeatured ColumnistAugust 25, 2019

BARCELONA, SPAIN - AUGUST 25: Antoine Griezmann of FC Barcelona celebrates their team's second goal during the Liga match between FC Barcelona and Real Betis Balompie at Camp Nou on August 25, 2019 in Barcelona, Spain. (Photo by Quality Sport Images/Getty Images)
Quality Sport Images/Getty Images

Barcelona got off the mark in the 2019/20 La Liga season after beating Real Betis 5-2 at the Camp Nou on Sunday.  

Two goals and an assist from Antoine Griezmann were enough for the champions to get in the win column, even without the services of injured duo Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez. Carles Perez, Jordi Alba and Arturo Vidal were also on the scoresheet, while Nabil Fekir and Loren found the net for Betis.

Winning emphatically made up for Barca opening the season losing 1-0 away to Athletic Bilbao last time out.

Struggling without Messi's craft and the power of Suarez, Barca were 1-0 down after just 15 minutes. Betis pounced on ponderous play to rob holding midfielder Sergio Busquets.

Sergio Canales seized possession and released Loren Moron, who teed up Fekir to score his first goal for the club he joined from Lyon this summer.

OptaJean @OptaJean

1 - Against Barcelona, Nabil Fekir 🇫🇷 has scored his 1st goal in La Liga (2nd game), with his very first shot on target in the competition. Accurate. #BarcaBetis https://t.co/xHW8UDExTH

The Blaugrana needed inspiration from somewhere, and it came courtesy of Griezmann. He got off the mark for Barca by meeting a terrific cross from Sergio Roberto four minutes before the break.

Griezmann hasn't been particularly efficient through two matches for Barcelona, but he has at least been heavily involved at the business end of the pitch:

OptaJean @OptaJean

1 - Antoine Griezmann 🇫🇷 in La Liga 2019/20 : 2 games 7 shots 2 shots on target 0.89xG 1 goal Answer. #BarcaBetis https://t.co/DDgxL1TqlA

The Frenchman was keeping the Betis back four busy with his intelligent use of space and perceptive runs. What Griezmann needed was more consistent supply from midfield, where summer signing Frenkie de Jong was struggling to impose himself.

Tepid play from the middle of the park made the decision to leave Ivan Rakitic and Arthur Melo on the bench a curious one from manager Ernesto Valverde.

There were no changes at the break, but Griezmann was in the mood to do things by himself, taking just four minutes after the restart to put Barca in front. A one-two with Roberto positioned Griezmann to curl in a superb effort from the right.

The wonder strike proved how quickly Griezmann had become comfortable with life at the Camp Nou:

Squawka Football @Squawka

Antoine Griezmann had never scored a goal at Camp Nou in his 14 games as an opposition player. On his first start for Barcelona, he has two. ✌️ https://t.co/7Xsj88GdGj

Griezmann was doing what was expected of a player who cost €120 million. However, Barca needed extra quality from unfamiliar sources in the absence of Messi and Suarez.

It was the cue for Carles Perez, who delivered on 56 minutes. The 21-year-old graduate of Barca's La Masia academy scored his first senior goal from a sweetly struck hit with his left foot.

Karl Matchett @karlmatchett

Would like to say that I've seen much more in this performance from Carles Perez than I ever saw from any of Tello, Deulofeu, Cuenca or any of the other would-be 'next in line' La Masia graduates. None ever had enough poise, control, influence on general open play. Nice showing.

Barca continued to turn on the style, with Alba making it 4-1 on the hour mark after some fine work from Busquets. The holding midfielder had recovered from his earlier mistake and was dictating play brilliantly from deep.

Vidal was the next to find the net for the hosts, profiting from Griezmann's selfless cutback after more enterprising play from Perez.

The latter wasn't the only academy alumnus catching the eye. There was also a place for 16-year-old winger Ansu Fati, who came off the bench and showed some smart touches during the final stages of the match:

FootballTalentScout @FTalentScout

16-year-old Ansu Fati becomes the second youngest player in Barcelona's history! 🔵🔴 https://t.co/kp7RKmNxmE

Loren got one back for the visitors 10 minutes from time, but the Blaugrana had made an emphatic statement about the strength in depth in the squad. Winning in style without Messi and Suarez is a reminder to title rivals Valverde's team is still the one to beat.

   

What's Next?

Barca are away to Osasuna on Saturday, August 31, while Betis will host Leganes on the same day.