December 5, 2021

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Martin Braithwaite fires Barcelona to next round in absence of Messi

2 min read

Four second-half goals masked a lacklustre performance as a much-changed Barcelona booked their place in the Champions League last 16 with a 4-0 win at Dynamo Kyiv.

While the win sees Barca advance from the group stages for the 17th successive season, the result does flatter Ronald Koeman’s side who lacked creativity and intensity throughout despite dominating possession.

It was only when Dynamo Kyiv started to tire and make individual errors that Barca started to find a way through.

Danish striker Martin Braithwaite – an emergency signing in February – proved the surprising hero on the night.

He set up 20 year-old right-back Sergino Dest for his first Barcelona goal in the 52nd minute before doubling the score in the 57th when he netted at the far post after debutant Oscar Mingueza headed on Carles Alena’s corner.

It then got even better for Braithwaite when he confidently drilled home a penalty in the 70th minute after Popov pushed him in the back, before Antoine Griezmann added a fourth in injury-time.

Dynamo Kyiv were set-up very defensively right from the get-go, looking to threaten on the counter-attack, with half-chances falling to Carlos De Pena and Benjamin Verbic either side of the break, but they were made to pay when Barcelona suddenly turned ruthless in the second half.

The Ukrainian club will next travel to play Juventus on 2nd December, as they look to qualify for the Europa League knockout stages now their Champions League exit is confirmed. Barca are away to Ferencvaros that same evening.

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