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Football Reporting

Barcelona

Barcelona’s Dest, Braithwaite 8/10 as Koeman’s young stars rack up big win at Dynamo Kyiv


Martin Braithwaite scored twice as a much-changed, heavily rotated Barcelona side beat Dynamo Kiev 4-0 on Tuesday to book their place in the last-16 of the Champions League.

Lionel Messi and Frenkie de Jong were rested for the game, despite a lengthy injury list, but Barca still managed to make it four wins from four in Europe this season with four second-half goals.

Report: USMNT pair make history as Barca win big at Dynamo Kyiv

United States international Sergino Dest opened the scoring in the 52nd minute with a smart finish from a tight angle. Braithwaite scored his first of the game five minutes later, and then won and scored a penalty with 20 minutes to go. Antoine Griezmann then came off the bench to complete the rout in stoppage time.

Positives

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There was a lot to smile about for coach Ronald Koeman in Kiev, something that’s rarely been the case since he took charge. B-team defender Oscar Mingueza did well on his full debut for the club. He could prove to be an option in the league moving forward, with Gerard Pique, Samuel Umtiti and Ronald Araujo all injured.

There was also a full Barca debut for USMNT winger Konrad de la Fuente late on, and Braithwaite enjoyed a good night in his first start this season. The Danish striker took his goals well, his first-ever goals in the Champions League, and will hope to be given more chances moving forward.

Negatives

The first half was dull, but that wasn’t necessarily Barca’s fault. This was a team of players playing together for the first time, in many cases. Most of them improved in the second half, too, although it wasn’t the greatest night for Junior Firpo or Miralem Pjanic.

Manager rating out of 10

7 — Koeman made seven changes and got responses from the likes of Braithwaite, Mingueza and Carles Alena. Will have been happy with what he saw from his squad players and delighted to be in the last-16 with two matches to spare.

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

GK Marc-Andre ter Stegen, 6 — The captain on the night didn’t have a lot to do, but he looked confident on the ball despite that costly mistake against Atletico Madrid last time out. Tipped a cross-shot wide on the stroke of half-time.

DF Sergino Dest, 8 — A great display in defence and attack, capped with a goal.

DF Oscar Mingueza, 7 — On his senior debut, the B-team defender looked nervous at times, but did grow in confidence as the game went on. Excellent on the ball, provided a couple of important blocks and flicked on the corner that led to Braithwaite’s first goal.

DF Clement Lenglet, 6 — Got away with a penalty claim against him earlier in the second half before being taken off with 30 minutes left. Barca can ill-afford to lose him given their lack of centre-backs.

DF Junior Firpo, 5 — Looked a player lacking in confidence at left-back, too often choosing the safe pass to the side or backward, perhaps understandable given his lack of minutes since signing from Real Betis in 2019. Finished the game at centre-back.

MF Carles Alena, 6 — Did enough on his first start this season to dispel the myth that he can’t play in a deeper midfield role. Linked well with Alba to set up Griezmann’s late strike.

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MF Miralem Pjanic, 5 — Not as involved as he would have liked to have been given his role as one of the senior players on the pitch.

FW Pedri, 6 — Clever pass to Braithwaite led to the opening goal for Dest on another decent evening for the attacking midfielder on the eve of his 18th birthday.

FW Francisco Trincao, 6 — Lots of tricks and effort, but a lack of real substance. He remains a work in progress.

FW Philippe Coutinho, 6 — Saw lots of the ball, but was often guilty of too many touches.

FW Martin Braithwaite, 8 — Inadvertently set up the first goal and then scored two of his own, the first a poacher’s finish at the far post and the second a penalty that he won himself.

Substitutes

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MF Riqui Puig, 6 — Came on just after the hour mark for his longest appearance of the season. Not overly involved but neat and tidy with the ball.

DF Jordi Alba, 6 — Looked lively when he came on and could have scored one or two before he did eventually find the net with a crisp finish.

FW Antoine Griezmann, 7 — Given the final 30 minutes off the bench, the French international scored the fourth goal.

MF Matheus Fernandes, N/R — The Brazilian midfielder made his first-ever appearance for Barca, although he didn’t have much to do.

FW Konrad de la Fuente, N/R — The USMNT forward came on for the final 10 minutes to make his competitive debut for Barca.



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