BUDAPEST (Reuters) - Barcelona out-classed Ferencvaros and eased their way to a 3-0 away win on Wednesday for a fifth consecutive Champions League victory which took them to the brink of clinching top spot in their group.
Lionel Messi was rested and missed a second European trip in a row but Barca barely noticed their captain’s absence as goals from Antoine Griezmann, Martin Braithwaite and a penalty from Ousmane Dembele gave them a three-goal lead before the break.
Ronald Koeman’s side continued to dominate in the second half and Dembele missed three chances to add to their lead while Miralem Pjanic also came close.
Barca, who have already qualified for the knockout stages, lead Group G with a maximum 15 points. They host second-placed Juventus in their final game next week and will finish top if they avoid defeat.
“We played very well, we scored some great goals and I’m very happy with how we played, especially in the first half,” said Barca coach Koeman.
“You can see that we have a great squad as we were able to rest various players and the ones who played today showed that there’s a lot of competition, particularly in attack.”
The game followed a similar script to last week’s 4-0 win away to Dynamo Kyiv as Barca had total control even though they had left Messi, Philippe Coutinho and first-choice keeper Marc-Andre ter Stegen at home and had little to play for.
They were particularly dangerous down the left-hand side as Jordi Alba and Dembele tormented the inexperienced Hungarians with little resistance.
The pair combined to slice open the defence for the first goal in the 14th minute, Alba crossing for Griezmann who pulled off a splendid backheeled finish to score for the third game in a row in all competitions.
Dembele then tore down the left wing and his cross found its way to Danish forward Braithwaite, who slid in to turn the ball into the net in the 20th.
Braithwaite, who two years ago was warming the bench for Middlesbrough in the English second division but has scored four goals in his last three appearances for Barca, then earned a penalty.
Despite scoring from the spot against Kyiv last week, he handed the ball to Dembele, who made no mistake.
“We played a great first half with lots of goals and chances and we showed a lot of quality in the second half too,” added Barca defender Clement Lenglet.
The Catalans have won their last three games in all competitions while scoring 11 goals but the Frenchman said they were not doing anything drastically different.
“Nothing has changed, we are doing the same things but right now results are going in our favour and we’re not conceding many goals, and that’s giving us confidence. We are all pulling together to get these victories.”