Barcelona‘s USMNT starlet Sergino Dest scored his first goal for the club to open the scoring in his team’s Champions League group game against Dynamo Kiev on Tuesday.
The 20-year-old right-back raced into the penalty area, latched on to a loose ball, and confidently tucked it past Dynamo Kiev goalkeeper Heorhiy Bushchan after 52 minutes.
It was an important goal for the visitors. Ronald Koeman’s side had enjoyed the better of the possession in the game but had struggled to carve out clear-cut chances against the hosts.
Ronald Koeman made several changes to his starting XI for the match. Dest was back in the starting XI for the first time since the previous fixture between the two teams at the Camp Nou back in October.
Dest’s goal will be a big boost to the USMNT star who now has the chance to cement his place in the starting XI. His rival for the right-back slot, Sergi Roberto, has been ruled out for two months after suffering a thigh injury against Atletico Madrid.
The American has already looked bright in his first few performances for Barca, and his goal against Dynamo Kiev drew plenty of praise from supporters and commentators.
The goal also sees Dest make history. He becomes the first UMSNT player to score for Barcelona and just the 10th to score in Europe’s top competition.
Dest might have had a second goal in the closing stages of the match. He tried his luck with an effort from just outside the penalty area but saw it fly narrowly over the crossbar.
Barcelona doubled their lead five minutes after Dest’s opening goal through striker Martin Braithwaite. The Denmark international doubled the visitors’ lead from close range for his first goal of the season.
Braithwaite added a second from the penalty spot after he was pushed in the area when going for a header. The Dane showed no nerves with his spot-kick, calmly tucking the ball away to make it 3-0.
Braithwaite now has three goals for Barcelona since joining on an emergency transfer from Leganes in February. The goal also vindicates manager Ronald Koeman’s decision to start Braithwaite ahead of Antoine Griezmann.
The Frenchman started the game on the bench in Ukraine and was offered some rest after a busy schedule for both Barcelona and the France national team. Griezmann arrived in the 65th minute as Koeman looked to freshen up his side for the final section of the match.
The World Cup winner also got his name on the scoresheet with a fine strike in stoppage time. The Frenchman controlled a cross from Jordi Alba before firing home his first Champions League goal of the season.
Barcelona ran out 4-0 winners to make it four wins out of four from their Champions League campaign so far. The result sends Koeman’s side into the knockout stages of the competition with two games left to play.
The Catalan giants still have to travel to Hungarian champions Ferencvaros and host Juventus at the Camp Nou, but Koeman knows he will be able to rest players for those games with qualification already assured.