December 3, 2021

‘I hope this is start of something big’ – Mingueza thrilled after assured Barca debut

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The centre-back provided an assist and helped the Catalans keep a clean sheet on his introduction to first-team football

Barcelona debutant Oscar Mingueza could not hide his delight after coming through his first experience with flying colours against Dynamo Kyiv on Wednesday. 

Mingueza, 21, started for the Catalans to make his maiden senior appearance in the Champions League as coach Ronald Koeman shuffled his first XI following Saturday’s defeat to Atletico Madrid

Pedri, Trincao, Sergino Dest, Carles Alena and Junior Firpo also featured in a youthful line-up, while the likes of Jordi Alba and Antoine Griezmann dropped to the bench and Lionel Messi was left out of the matchday squad altogether. 

Koeman’s gamble paid off in a straightforward 4-0 win for the visitors, with Martin Braithwaite netting twice following Dest’s opener and Griezmann coming off the bench to hit the fourth of the evening. 

Mingueza looked solid in the middle of defence alongside Clement Lenglet and, with Gerard Pique set to miss up to six months after suffering ligament damage, he hopes to step up and feature on a more regular basis in the Blaugrana first team.

“I am really, really happy after so many years and everything that I have suffered to play here. It’s a dream to debut in the Champions League for the best club in the world,” he beamed to Barca TV

“I spent all week wondering if I would play or not and when I found out I was so happy.

“I was a little nervous and I thought of my family, my girlfriend and the people that know what I have suffered and the work behind reaching this point.

“I hope that this is the start of something big. I played well, we didn’t give much away, the team was switched on when we lost the ball.

“With the rhythm we played with, they ended up tiring. We played well with and without the ball.” 

Mingueza’s debut included a fine assist to set up Braithwaite’s first goal of the Group G fixture, and he earned high praise from Alba for his contribution to Barca’s victory. 

“He’s a kid who has been training with us for a long time and today he played a great game and assisted Braithwaite’s goal,” the full-back, who entered the game off the bench replacing Lenglet, told reporters after the game. 

“Defensively he was very good, it didn’t seem like his debut with the first team.”