Barcelona defeated Gimnastic kicking off their pre-season campaign with a victory at the Estadi Johan Cruyff in Catalonia. Rey Manaj netted a hat-trick to put his team ahead. The 24-year-old Barcelona B player from Albania got the Blaugrana off to a flying start on the hour. With many of his first-team players still not fully recovered, Ronald Koeman fielded a youthful lineup, though he did include Sergino Dest, Gerard Pique, and Sergi Roberto.
Barcelona coach Ronald Koeman put out two different XIs in each half and after a goalless opening 45 minutes in which Quintanilla’s dismissal reduced Nàstic to 10 men. After the break, the game came to life with striker Rey Manaj scoring a hat-trick and Álex Collado getting the other.
Barcelona dominated possession, which was not surprising given Gimnastic was reduced to ten men in the 38th minute after Alex Quintanilla Urionabarrenetxea was sent off. In the final five minutes, Alex Collado doubled Barcelona’s lead. His deflected effort sneaking past the goalkeeper after a strong run.
In the 86th and 90th minutes, Manaj scored again to complete a remarkable hat-trick and cement his place in the hearts of all Barcelona fans – at least for tonight.
Watch football highlights of a pre-season friendly match where Barcelona defeated Gimnastic.
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’)
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