Wednesday evening saw Barcelona kick off their pre-season campaign with a 4-0 victory against Nastic de Tarragona at the Estadi Johan Cruyff, with Rey Manaj netting a hat-trick and Yusuf Demir showing signs of why the Blaugrana have brought him to the club.
Ronald Koeman went for a 4-3-3 formation, which included all seven of the first-team players he had available, even those up for sale such as Miralem Pjanic and Samuel Umtiti. Notably, there was excitement about seeing the likes of left-back Alejandro Balde and winger Demir, who has won Koeman's heart in training.
While Balde showed promising signs, it was Demir that stole the show. The young Austrian, on loan from Rapid Vienna, was skilful, quick, direct and caused all sorts of problems for the Nastic defence.
Unfortunately the game was conditioned somewhat by the referee brandishing two red cards to two Nastic players - one in the 37th minute to Alex Quintanilla and then one in the 59th minute to Marc Trilles - as all four of Barcelona's goals arrived in the second 45 minutes, after Koeman changed his entire XI at the half-time break.
Rey Manaj opened the scoring in the 61st minute and then there was a late flurry, with Alex Collado doubling the Blaugrana's lead before Manaj popped up with another two goals - one from open play and the other from the penalty spot - to complete his hat-trick.
With 2,037 fans in attendance, Barcelona's first pre-season match allowed Koeman to examine some of the fringe players in his squad, as well as some of the young prospects coming through. From this game, there are two names that are likely to be highlighted in Koeman's office: Yusuf Demir and Rej Manaj.
4. - Barcelona: Neto; Sergino Dest, Gerard Pique, Samuel Umtiti, Alejandro Balde; Miralem Pjanic, Sergi Roberto, Riqui Puig; Yusuf Demir, Jordi Escobar, Peque Polo. Also playing were: Inaki Pena, Igor Gomes, Arnau Comas, Santi Ramos Mingo, Moussa Ndiaye, Gavi, Matheus Pereira, Alex Collado, Nils Mortimer, Hiroki Abe and Rey Manaj.
0. - Nastic: Manu Garcia; Pol, Trilles, Ribelles, Del Campo, Fullana, Quintanilla, Edgar, Prats, Joan Oriol and Karim. Also playing were: Alvaro Gonzalez, Caro, De la Pena, Javier Bonilla, Oscar Sanz, Pol Ballesteros, Fran Carbi, Pablo Fernandez, Pedro Martin and Jordi Aviles.
Goals: 1-0, min. 61: Manaj; 2-0, min. 85: Collado; 3-0, min. 86: Manaj; 4-0, min.90: Manaj (penalty).
Referee: Alejandro Muniz Ruiz (Galician).
Yellow cards: Ribelles (min.19) for Nastic.
Red cards: Quintanilla (min.37) for Nastic, Trilles (min.59) for Nastic.
Stadium: Estadi Johan Cruyff.
Attendance: 2037 spectators.