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FC Barcelona have beaten Girona 3-1 in the second friendly of the preseason in a game that saw new signing Memphis make his first appearance for his new club and even get to celebrate the occasion by scoring their third goal.
Gerard Piqué had opened the scoring, also from the spot, while Rey Manaj continued his splendid preseason by scoring his fourth goal in a week.
All in all, it was a strong and convincing performance from a team featuring a mix of regular first teamers and some very promising up-and-coming youngsters.
Both Barça and Barça B have very good reason to feel optimistic about the season that’s soon to start.
Like against Gimnàstic on Wednesday, Ronald Koeman started the game with an experienced defence, but a number of less familiar faces in midfield and attack, including yet another debutant in defensive midfielder Nico González, who missed the Tarragona game with a stomach bug.
Girona, who missed out on promotion to La Liga by a whisker last season, looked sprightly early on, but it was Barça who took the lead on 20 minutes when Alejandro Balde was brought down just inside the area and Piqué took the penalty. Visiting keeper Juan Carlos saved it, but then knocked the ball into the net with his other arm.
Manaj does it again
Moments later and Barça led 2-0. Nils Mortimer crossed and Rey Manaj tapped it in. After getting three goals on his debut on Wednesday, this has been some week for the young Albanian!
The FOURTH goal of the preseason for Rey Manaj in 69 minutes played! (Avg. One goal every 17m 15s) 🤯 pic.twitter.com/TKivBaqgIN— FC Barcelona (@FCBarcelona) July 24, 2021
Memphis makes debut…
Manaj took a bang in the head shortly after and had to be replaced. But much to the delight of a crowd that included Chris Martin of Coldplay, the man coming on was the one everyone had been waiting to see.
Memphis Depay was about to come on to rapturous applause, and his flair immediately brought a new vibe to the game. This guy is going to be FUN to watch…
Girona had pulled one back by this stage. Mortimer handled in the area, and Samu Saíz converted from the spot ‘a la Panenka’.
…and he scores
The second half brought wholesale changes from Koeman, with Clement Lenglet, Frenkie de Jong and Antoine Griezmann all getting their first action of the preseason.
Barça continued to dominate, and were finally rewarded with a third goal five minutes from the end, and it was yet another penalty. The crowd chanted Memphis’ name and got what they wanted. The Dutchman struck, and Juan Carlos again got a hand to the ball but couldn’t keep it out. 3-1.
It’s only early days, and this may only have been a friendly, but Barça 2021/22 looks to be fitting into place very nicely indeed. Next stop, Germany!
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