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Football Reporting

Barcelona

Dembele 9/10, Griezmann 8/10 as Messi-less Barcelona rout Ferencvaros


Barcelona made it five wins from five in the Champions League this season with a comfortable 3-0 win against Ferencvaros in Budapest on Wednesday.

All the goals came in the opening half an hour, with Antoine Griezmann, Martin Braithwaite and Ousmane Dembele all on target.

Barca have already qualified for the last 16 but they will need to avoid defeat against Juventus in their final game next week to progress as group winners.

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Positives

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Barca struggled to take their chances early in the campaign but that hasn’t been the case over the last week. They’ve scored 11 goals in their last three games and the thing that will please coach Ronald Koeman the most is that the goals have been spread around.

Braithwaite has scored four goals in a week and his presence as a fixed No. 9 has helped create space behind him. Griezmann has certainly benefitted with the Frenchman having now scored in three consecutive games for Barca for the first time since signing from Atletico Madrid.

Dembele, who scored the third goal from the penalty spot, was the standout performer against Ferencvaros, though. If he can stay injury-free, Barca could have a star on their hands.

Negatives

The only doubt about Barca’s recent form is that they’ve been playing sides you would expect them to beat in Dynamo Kiev, Osasuna and Ferencvaros. They need to repeat these performances against stronger opposition to truly convince progress has been made.

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Manager rating out of 10

7 — Koeman managed the night perfectly, handing minutes to those that needed them and resting Lionel Messi while still fielding a side capable of winning at a canter. Made sensible substitutes, too, with Saturday’s game at Cadiz in mind.

Player ratings (1-10; 10 = best. Players introduced after 70 minutes get no rating)

GK Neto, 6 — Came in for the rested Marc-Andre ter Stegen but was never really tested.

DF Sergino Dest, 7 — A threat in the final third once again thanks to his ability to beat his man and deliver crosses into the box.

DF Oscar Mingueza, 6 — The youngster made his third start for Barca after making his debut last week and is looking increasingly confident. The Blaugrana haven’t conceded a goal with him on the pitch yet.

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DF Clement Lenglet, 6 — The French defender is made of strong stuff. Looked set for a spell on the sidelines on Sunday after injuring his ankle but started three days later to help ease Barca’s injury crisis at the back.

DF Jordi Alba, 8 — Worked well with Dembele down the left flank, setting up the first goal for Griezmann and also being involved in the second goal. Taken off at half-time for a breather.

MF Sergio Busquets, 6 — Completed 45 minutes on his first start since returning from a knee injury.

MF Miralem Pjanic, 6 — Tidy on the ball and fired a decent effort wide from distance late on.

FW Francisco Trincao, 6 — The quietest of Barca’s quartet of forwards. Did liven up in the second half but lacked the effectiveness of his teammates in the final third.

FW Antoine Griezmann, 8 — Followed up Sunday’s starring performance against Osasuna with another confident display in Hungary. Played with freedom and his goal, a near-post flick, was impressive.

FW Ousmane Dembele, 9 — Was a constant threat on the left, where he linked well with Alba. Helped create the first two goals before converting a penalty to make it 3-0. Was the brightest spark in a quieter second half, with one incredible run ending with a shot into the side netting. Simply unplayable at times.

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FW Martin Braithwaite, 8 — Scored Barca’s second and won the penalty for the third. Has scored four goals in three starts since coming into the side last week.

Substitutions

MF Frenkie de Jong, 6 — Finished the game at centre-back to allow Lenglet a rest.

DF Junior Firpo, 6 — Came on for Alba at the break but didn’t have the same attacking output.

MF Carles Alena, 6 — Will have been aggrieved not to start but did well when he came on in a new, deeper midfield role.

MF Riqui Puig, 6 — Led one break which could have ended up with a goal and set up a good chance for Dembele.

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FW Konrad de la Fuente, N/R — The United States international came on for the final 10 minutes for just his second appearance for Barca’s senior side.



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