Barcelona have won their second preseason friendly of the week thanks to a 3-1 victory over Girona at the Estadi Johan Cruyff. The Blaugrana played an older, slower team for 60 minutes that scored the goals and a young, exciting squad that gave us the entertainment in the final 30. Ronald Koeman has some big lineup decisions to make, but one thing is for sure: the kids are alright.
Not unlike the first half of the first preseason game, Barça had a rather slow team on the pitch and without much speed or movement in the final third the Blaugrana were predictable and uncreative in the final third, but they still created chances against the Girona defense thanks to good runs from the full-backs.
Barça took the lead after some really good pressing up the pitch, a genius pass from Messi and a tap-in for Coutinho. The rest of the half featured a lot of passing and not much else from the home team, but they did find a second goal thanks to a great long distance strike from Messi with his weaker right foot.
Girona had their moments with the ball, but the Barça defense managed to avoid any trouble thanks to an impressive performance by Ronald Araujo, who used his pace to destroy every promising attack by the visitors.
At halftime, Barça were in control and had a two-goal lead, but they weren’t very exciting to watch.
The start of the second half was very busy with two goals in the first six minutes: first it was Samu Sáiz who scored for Girona after a bad mistake from Frenkie De Jong, but Messi quickly restored Barça’s two-goal lead with a shot from distance that deflected off Ramalho and went in.
At the 60-minute mark Koeman made nine changes, introducing a second half lineup full of youth, speed, energy and creativity, and Barça instantly looked more dangerous and exciting and the Girona defense, which looked well organized in the first half, was quickly exposed by smart passing and timely runs by the Barça front six.
Konrad, Pedri and Dembélé were a terror with their pace and skill, and the trio created chance after chance requiring the Girona defense to make some desperate, last-ditch tackles and blocks to stop Barça from scoring another goal or two.
The final whistle eventually came to end a solid performance from Barça, although the difference between the two teams we saw on the pitch is scary. The is so much promise in the younger squad, but the name brands played the first 60 minutes. Hopefully Ronald Koeman can see what we’re all seeing. It’s too obvious at this point.
Barcelona: Neto; Roberto (Semedo 62’), Araujo, Piqué (Lenglet 62’), Alba (Firpo 62’); Busquets (Puig 62’), De Jong (Aleñá 62’); Trincão (Dembélé 62’), Griezmann (Pedri 62’), Coutinho (Konrad 62’); Messi (Braithwaite 62’)
Goals: Coutinho (21’), Messi (45’, 51’)
Girona: Carlos; Calavera, Alcalá, Bernardo, Mojica; Kebe, Gumbau; Valery, Samu, Jairo; Adrià
Goals: Samu (46’)