Barcelona won Wednesday’s first exhibition game. In the Estadi Johan Cruyff, Ronald Koeman’s team was visited by fellow countryman Gimnàstic de Tarragona, which was defeated 4-0. With three hits, Substitute Rey Manaj impressed. Sergiño Dest was given a starting spot and started from right-back, while the friendly match for Memphis Depay, who arrived this week, came too early. Frenkie de Jong also was not there yet.
In addition to Depay and De Jong, European Championship-goers Antoine Griezmann, Pedri, Sergio Busquets and Clément Lenglet are not yet part of the Catalan superpower. Lionel Messi, who recently conquered the Copa América with the Argentine team, will also not make playing minutes yet. The 34-year old attacker is currently on vacation and has not yet reached a deal with Barcelona for a new contract. Yusuf Demir, who was previously taken over by Rapid Wien on a rent basis, was granted a basic position. Koeman also threw Jordi Escobar’s talents and Peque Polo to the lions.
Dest clearly enjoyed the exhibition game. He already tried his luck in just nine minutes of play. After a good passing move, he ran into the penalty box from the right and fired at the enemy goal. However, the right-hander missed the target. Miralem Pjanic and Sergi Roberto also contributed to the second company’s success, but the goal that opened the scoring was not scored before the half-time break. The goal was scored. The AzulgranasThe 38th minute saw Puig being helped into the saddle. Puig was knocked down hard by Álex Quintanilla, who received a direct red card from Alejandro Ruiz.
Koeman changed his entire team at halftime, and eventually managed to lead his team to a big victory against ten men from Nàstic. After over an hour of play, it was Rey Manaj that got it on his hips and scored a perfect hat-trick. His first goal was stunning: The striker from Albania, Rey Manaj turned away from his opponent and lashed out in the box to score the 1-0. Manaj scored the 3-0 from 11 meters after Hiroki Abe’s pass. In between, Álex Collado (2-0) also put his name on the scoreboard.
Barcelona first half line-up: Neto, Dest, Piqué, Umtiti, Balde, Pjanic, Sergi Roberto, Riqui Puig; Demir, Peque and Escobar
Barcelona line-up for the second half: Iñaki Peña; Igor Gomes, Comas, Ramos Mingo, N’Diaye; Gavi, Matheus Pereira; Collado, Mortimer, Hiroki; Rey Manaj