Barcelona kicked off preparations for the 2021-22 season in style thanks to a 4-0 win over Gimnastic Tarragona in the preseason opener at the Johan Cruyff Stadium. Ronald Koeman used two different teams and both sides played very well, and Barça B striker Rey Manaj scored a hat-trick in his first team debut.
Barça were in control from the very beginning, with their first half lineup featuring all of the available first team players. Sergiño Dest and B-team full-back Alejandro Balde were always a threat on the wings, Yusuf Demir looked great in his Barça debut, and Riqui Puig was amazing running the show in midfield.
There was plenty of possession and a lot of chances to score, but Nastic goalkeeper Manu García made several great saves to keep a clean sheet in the first half. But Quintanilla was sent off for a foul on Riqui Puig right before halftime, setting the stage for a second half that would be dominated by the Blaugrana.
Koeman’s second half team was an all-Barça B XI, with Álex Collado as the captain and the creative force in midfield and some really good wing play by Hiroki Abe and Mortimer. But the star of the show was striker Rey Manaj, who scored an amazing opening goal and would add two more later on.
Collado made it 2-0 with help of a deflection by De La Peña, and then Manaj completed his hat-trick with a tap-in from a Hiroki cross and a penalty after N’Diaye was fouled inside the box. The final whistle came to end a strong preseason opener, and the Barça kids are alright.
Barcelona 1st Half XI: Neto; Dest, Piqué, Umtiti, Balde; Roberto, Pjanic, Puig; Demir, Escobar, Peque
Barcelona 2nd Half XI: Peña; Gomes, Comas, Ramos Mingo, N’Diaye; Collado, Pereira, Gavi; Hiroki, Manaj, Mortimer
Goals: Manaj (60’, 86’, 90’), Collado (85’)
Gimnastic XI: García; Trilles, Quintanilla, Domingo, Oriol; L’Koucha, Fullana, Ribelles, Campo; Edgar, Prats
Red Card: Quintanilla (38’)