BARCELONA (REUTERS) – Lionel Messi became the first player to score in 16 consecutive Champions League seasons as he guided 10-man Barcelona to a 5-1 victory over Hungarian side Ferencvaros in their Group G opener at the Camp Nou on Tuesday (Oct 20).
Messi netted from the penalty spot in the first half for his 116th career goal in the competition, before the lively Ansu Fati added a second.
Philippe Coutinho grabbed another goal early in the second half but Barca defender Gerard Pique was dismissed for impeding the lively Tokmac Nguen, leading to a penalty for the visitors that was converted by Igor Kharatin.
Any thoughts of a dramatic comeback were quashed though as 17-year-old Pedri netted his first Barca goal after arriving from second-tier Las Palmas at the start of the season, and Ousmane Dembele added the fifth late on.
The Catalan side move above Juventus on goal difference at the top of the table after the Italian champions won 2-0 away at Dynamo Kyiv earlier on Tuesday. The pair meet in Turin on Oct. 28.
Barca coach Ronald Koeman left stalwart midfielder Sergio Busquets and striker Antoine Griezmann on the bench, perhaps with one eye on Saturday’s ‘El Clasico’ against bitter rivals Real Madrid.