Braithwaite, Dest Shine As Barca Cruise In Kiev

REUTERS

Sergiño Dest opened his Barcelona account and Martin Braithwaite scored twice as Ronald Koeman's men eased to a 4-0 victory over Dynamo Kiev in Champions League Group G on Tuesday.

After an underwhelming first-half display, Ronald Koeman's side took the lead early in the second period with a fine finish from Dest.

Braithwaite netted his first goal in Europe for Barca with a close-range finish from a corner before he added his second of the game from the penalty spot.

Substitute Antoine Griezmann put the gloss on the win in injury time with a clinical finish from the inside the box.

 

Barca completed the victory without Lionel Messi, who did not make the trip to Kiev after Koeman gave him a break following a hectic schedule.

Koeman rotated his squad as he gave first starts of the season to Carles Alena, Junior Firpo and Braithwaite, while Oscar Mingueza made his first-team debut.

The side named by the Dutchman had an average age of 24 years and 206 days, which was the club’s youngest in the Champions League since 2011 and their seventh youngest ever in the competition.

A youthful Blaugrana showed early promise although Dynamo had the first meaningful attempt with Marc-Andre ter Stegen saving Carlos de Pena's scuffed shot.

Philippe Coutinho curled a free-kick wide from distance but Francisco Trincao's dipping effort, easily gathered by Georgi Bushchan, was Barca's only shot on target during a drab first half.

Koeman's side increased the tempo after half-time and soon took the lead with a well-crafted goal which saw Braithwaite slide the ball through for Dest, who crisply angled a low finish into the net.

Shortly before the hour-mark Barca added a second when Braithwaite stabbed home at the back post after Mingueza's deft flick from Alena's corner.

Braithwaite won a penalty after he was fouled by Denys Popov and the Denmark striker confidently stepped up to send the spot-kick high into the corner of the net.

Dynamo rarely threatened in the remainder of the contest while Riqui Puig missed a sitter for Barcelona late on when he fired over the crossbar.

Griezmann, a 66th-minute replacement for Coutinho, added a fourth in injury time when he swept the ball home.

The game also provided an opportunity for United States international Konrad de la Fuente to make his competitive debut for the LaLiga giants, with the 19-year-old coming on for Trincao in the 83rd minute.