Ferran Torres netted twice as Barcelona ended their disappointing Champions League campaign with a comfortable 4-2 victory at Viktoria Plzen.
Marcos Alonso opened the scoring sliding in on the line after Ansu Fati’s effort crawled under Jindrich Stanek and then, although initially given offside, Torres netted a second just before half time steering home after Jordi Alba headed Raphinia’s ball to him.
Pablo Torre, on his debut, barged over Tomas Chory who got up to send another debutant Inaki Pena the wrong way from the spot to pull a goal back, but soon afterwards Torres had his second after neat exchange of passes with Raphinha.
Chory scored another with a powerful header from Adam Vlkanova’s cross but Barcelona had the last word with Torre smashing into the net after a through-ball from Raphinia.
The win leaves Barcelona on seven points and Plzen with six defeats, with their finishing positions of third and fourth in Group C established before this match.
Almeria could be facing Barca at best time – Whatever team Barcelona field will have the potential to create a number of chances and score multiple goals, but if they play Marcos Alonso at centre back Almeria should feel just as confident about scoring themselves. Granted there was more motivation for Viktoria Plzen in this tie, giving their crowd something to cheer, but a centre back pairing of the ex-Chelsea man and Gerard Pique, at this stage of his career, is one which should have any opponents licking their lips. Xavi hopes Andreas Christensen will be back on Saturday which will admittedly improve things but a lot of players will have their thoughts on the World Cup later in the month and this seems to be betrayed in their defensive efforts. As well as Plzen hitting the post twice, Pena also made a number of good stops for Barcelona to stop them conceding more here. With one of their most committed players, Franck Kessie out with a hamstring injury as well, goals look to be guaranteed on Saturday.
PLAYER OF THE MATCH
Raphinha (Barcelona) – The summer signing from Leeds looks to be finding his feet at Barcelona just as the season is coming to a standstill. It was his play which created the goal for Robert Lewandowski against Valencia on the weekend and once more he was at the hub of all the creative play for Barcelona. He created two of the goals and had a pre-assist with his delightful ball over the top for Jordi Alba to set up Ferran Torres’ first strike.
Plzen: Stanek 5; Holik 6, Hejda 5, Pernica 6, Jemelka 5; Ndiaye 6, Kalvach 6; Jirka 7, Vlkanova 7, Pilar 6; Chorý 8.
Subs: Havel 6, Bucha 7, Cermak 6, Bassey 6, Kronus 6.
Barcelona: Pena 7; Bellerin 6, Pique 5, Alonso 5, Alba 6; Gavi 6, Torre 6, Kessie 7; Fati 6, Torres 8, Raphinha 9*
Subs: Balde 6, Casado 6, Sanz 6, Dembele 6.
6′ GOAL FOR BARCELONA! Torres played through Fati and his shot crept under the body of Stanek and Alonso who started the move followed up and made a sliding tackle on the line to put his side in front.
21′ OFF THE BAR! Chory meets Kalvach’s free kick from deep on the right flank with a header and it has Pena beaten but comes back off the bar.
45′ GOAL FOR BARCELONA! It is a goal. VAR overturned the offside and there is no need for the referee to look at the video. When Raphinha clipped a ball over the top Alba was still just behind the Plzen player on the other side of the field and his header across was slotted home from eight yards out by Torres.
51′ GOAL FOR PLZEN! Torre shoulders Chory to the ground and the hosts have a penalty kick. Chory sends Pena the wrong way and we have a game now.
54′ GOAL FOR BARCELONA! They’ve only gone and made them mad! Torres dribbled into the box and then pushed the ball wide to Raphinha, he passed back to the former Manchester City striker who shoots home first time.
63′ GOAL FOR PLZEN! Chory on the scoresheet again. All on his own in the middle he heads home Vlkanova’s inswinging cross from the left wing.
83′ FANTASTIC EFFORT! Jirka slams the effort from just outside of the angle of the 18-yard box on the right flank and Pena gets a feathery touch which might’ve just been enough to keep it from creeping in the near post as it smacks the frame of the goal instead.
75′ GOAL FOR BARCELONA! Pablo Torre scores on his debut. Raphinha played a lovely ball over the top for him and he slams the ball high into the net and then lies on the floor in a mixture of exhaustion and exhileration.