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Royal Antwerp
Champions League | Group Stage
Dec 13, 2023 at 8pm UK
Bosuilstadion
Barcelona logo

Antwerp
3 - 2
Barcelona

Vermeeren (2'), Janssen (56'), Ilenikhena (90+2')
Wijndal (23'), Bataille (90+6'), De Laet (90')
FT(HT: 1-1)
Torres (35'), Guiu (90+1')
Yamal (42'), Roberto (54'), Torres (90+6')

Royal Antwerp win five-goal thriller against Barcelona in Belgium

Antwerp win five-goal thriller against Barcelona in Belgium
© Reuters
Royal Antwerp score a 92nd-minute winner to record a 3-2 victory over Barcelona in Wednesday's Champions League clash in Belgium.

Royal Antwerp scored a 92nd-minute winner to record a 3-2 victory over Barcelona in Wednesday's Champions League clash in Belgium.

The La Liga champions twice came from behind in the Group H fixture and looked to have secured a share of the spoils when 17-year-old Marc Guiu made it 2-2 in the 91st minute.

However, less than a minute later, Antwerp led for a third time through their own 17-year-old substitute, with George Ilenikhena securing a famous win for the home side.

Antwerp have finished bottom of Group H on three points, while Barcelona have still topped the section despite the loss, finishing above Porto on the head-to-head record.

The home side made the perfect start to the contest, with the highly-rated Arthur Vermeeren opening the scoring in just the second minute.

It was a mess from Barcelona's point of view, with Oriol Romeu failing to find a teammate with a pass when the ball had been played into him by Inaki Pena, and Vermeeren was on hand to fire into the back of the net to spark jubilant scenes inside the stadium.

The hosts had another chance in the 10th minute after smart work from Ritchie de Laet, who broke into a wide area before finding Vincent Janssen with a cross, but the striker could only fire into the hands of Pena.

Barcelona found it difficult for long stages of the first period, but they managed to level the scores in the 35th minute, with Torres collecting a clever pass from Lamine Yamal before finishing into the back of the net.

It was harsh on Antwerp, who were much the better side in the opening 45 minutes, with Vermeeren demonstrating why he is one of the most in-demand youngsters in world football.

Barcelona's leveller proved to be their only shot on target in the first period, but they did dominate the ball, with the majority of Antwerp's good work coming on the counter-attack.

Barcelona's Ferran Torres celebrates scoring against Royal Antwerp on December 13, 2023© Reuters

Fermin Lopez had a half-chance early in the second period, but the midfielder's effort was always rising over the Antwerp crossbar.

Antwerp thought that they had regained the lead early in the 50th minute through Janssen, who converted following an excellent pass from Vermeeren, but the offside flag was raised before Yamal struck the post for Barcelona shortly after.

Sergi Roberto was handed a straight red card in the 53rd minute for a late challenge on Mandela Keita, but it was downgraded by the referee to a yellow following a recommendation from VAR.

Barcelona conceded a second in the 56th minute, though, and it was another mistake from Romeu, who conceded possession to Alhassan Yusuf; the ball was then fed into Janssen, with the striker picking out the bottom corner to make it 2-1 to the hosts.

Xavi responded to the setback by introducing three players off the bench, with Ilkay Gundogan, Joao Cancelo and Pedri replacing Romeu, Hector Fort and Fermin Lopez.

Robert Lewandowski was then withdrawn in the 72nd minute, with Guiu entering as his replacement, and Barcelona were knocking on the door heading towards the latter stages.

Cancelo was bright, and the Portugal international missed the target in the 74th minute after smart work from Yamal, who was comfortably Barcelona's most inventive forward on the night.

Torres and Alejandro Balde both had attempts blocked in the 82nd minute, before Jules Kounde forced Antwerp goalkeeper Jean Butez into a save with a long-range strike in the 86th minute.

Barcelona did manage to level the scores in the 91st minute, and it was a first Champions League goal for Guiu, who headed a cross from Gundogan into the back of the net, seemingly securing a point for the visitors.

Antwerp were not finished, though, with the Belgian side spectacularly scoring a third in the 92nd minute through Ilenikhena, with the youngster racing onto a pass from Jelle Bataille before finishing past Pena to secure all three points for the hosts in dramatic fashion.

ID:531289:1false2false3false:QQ:: from db desktop :LenBod:collect6901:No Data Analysis info
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Draw
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Barcelona
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