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The second pre-season game and the second win. Barça beat Girona 3-1 at the Johan Cruyff Stadium, in what was the second test of the Ronald Koeman era. Coutinho and Leo Messi, with a double, were the goal scorers in a great match for the hosts. Here are five things we learned about the win:
More than an hour of play for the 11 starters
One of the main changes from the first friendly was been the distribution of minutes. Against Nàstic, Koeman played two totally different teams in each half, giving 45 minutes to each of the 22 players he used. Against Girona, the Dutchman used a total of 20 players but in a different way: the starting eleven played 62 minutes and the remaining nine players played the last half hour of the match. Only Neto and Araujo played the full 90 minutes.
Messi is back with a goal
With a double against Girona, the Argentine scored for the first time since August 8 against Napoli, when Barça won 3-1 at the Camp Nou. Messi’s two on Wednesday evening came in each half, the first with his right foot and the second with his left.
Coutinho continues to be inspired
The Brazilian, who scored from the penalty spot in the victory against Nàstic, found the net against Girona. Two goals in two games since his return. A starter who played 62 minutes, Coutinho created a lot of danger against Barça’s opponents. His goal came after great combination play between Griezmann, Messi and Trincão, leaving Coutinho to slot into an open goal.
Youngsters shine again
Both the new signings (Trincão and Pedri) and the young talents from La Masia (Riqui Puig, Araujo and Konrad) have once again shown their best level. Araujo played the 90 minutes and was very confident in defence, whilst Trincão also started and gave the first assist of the match, as well as creating a lot of danger from the right side. As for Riqui, Pedri and Konrad, all three came on in the second half. Riqui was very active in midfield, Pedri had several chances to score and Konrad was superb in the one v ones.
Once again the Dutch coach used the 4-2-3-1 formation he tried in the win against Nastic, with a double pivot formed this time by De Jong and Sergio. The role of the three in the attacking line was key once again, the players displaying a lot of mobility, constantly changing position and producing some high-quality combination play. Gradually, the players are adapting to the new way of working.
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