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Dest scores 1st goal as Barça advances in Champions League

American defender Sergiño Dest scored his first goal with Barcelona as the Catalan club comfortably defeated Dynamo Kyiv 4-0 and advanced to the knockout stage of the Champions League on Tuesday despite the absence of Lionel Messi.

Martin Braithwaite scored twice and Antoine Griezmann once as Barcelona secured a spot in the last 16 of the European competition for the 17th straight season.

Barcelona reached 12 points from four victories in Group G. It has a three-point lead over Juventus, which beat Hungarian club Ferencváros 2-1 at home. Dynamo and Ferencváros stayed at one point each and have no chance of advancing with two rounds of matches remaining.

Barcelona's Sergino Dest celebrates with his teammates after scoring his side's opening goal during the Champions League group G soccer match between Dynamo Kyiv and FC Barcelona at the Olimpiyskiy Stadium in Kyiv, Ukraine, Tuesday, Nov. 24, 2020. (AP PhotoEfrem Lukatsky)

Dest scored for the first time since signing with Barcelona in October with a low cross shot into the far corner in the 52nd minute. Braithwaite added to the lead from close range in the 57th and scored again from a penalty kick in the 70th. Griezmann entered the match in the second half and closed the scoring in stoppage time.

Dest, the 20-year-old U.S. national team player who joined from Ajax, came close to scoring his second goal with a long range shot that just missed over the crossbar in the final minutes.

Another American player — 19-year-old forward Konrad de la Fuente — made his Barcelona debut when he came on as a substitute in the 83rd to become the record seventh American to play in the European competition this season.

Barcelona's Martin Braithwaite, center, celebrates after scoring his side's third goal during the Champions League group G soccer match between Dynamo Kyiv and FC Barcelona at the Olimpiyskiy Stadium in Kyiv, Ukraine, Tuesday, Nov. 24, 2020. (AP PhotoEfrem Lukatsky)

It was the first time two Americans played together for a club in the Champions League since Tim Howard and Jonathan Spector were with Manchester United in a match against Fenerbahce in 2004. That was the only other time that happened.

Messi was rested after having played in every match with Barcelona this season. He also spent time with Argentina’s national team. Midfielder Frenkie de Jong also didn't make the trip to Ukraine to get some rest time.

Barcelona has won its Champions League group every time since 2007-08. Dynamo was making its first group appearance since the 2016-17 season.

Dynamo Kyiv's goalkeeper Heorhiy Bushchan, fails to save the ball as Barcelona's Martin Braithwaite scores his side's third goal from the penalty spot during the Champions League group G soccer match between Dynamo Kyiv and FC Barcelona at the Olimpiyskiy Stadium in Kyiv, Ukraine, Tuesday, Nov. 24, 2020. (AP PhotoEfrem Lukatsky)

The Ukrainian side has been depleted by the coronavirus recently. It had lost 2-1 to Barcelona at the Camp Nou Stadium in the previous round.

Barcelona was without Sergio Busquets, Gerard Piqué and Sergi Roberto because of injuries.

Coach Ronald Koeman fielded a starting lineup without many regular starters and used reserve-team player Óscar Mingueza in central defense alongside with Clément Lenglet.

Barcelona's Martin Braithwaite, right, scores his side's third goal from the penalty spot during the Champions League group G soccer match between Dynamo Kyiv and FC Barcelona at the Olimpiyskiy Stadium in Kyiv, Ukraine, Tuesday, Nov. 24, 2020. (AP PhotoEfrem Lukatsky)

Griezmann started on the bench again despite the extra spot available in attack because of Messi's absence.

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Barcelona's Martin Braithwaite, second left, celebrates with his teammates after scores his side's second goal during the Champions League group G soccer match between Dynamo Kyiv and FC Barcelona at the Olimpiyskiy Stadium in Kyiv, Ukraine, Tuesday, Nov. 24, 2020. (AP PhotoEfrem Lukatsky)

Barcelona's Francisco Trincao, is challenged by Dynamo Kyiv's Denys Harmash during the Champions League group G soccer match between Dynamo Kyiv and FC Barcelona at the Olimpiyskiy Stadium in Kyiv, Ukraine, Tuesday, Nov. 24, 2020. (AP PhotoEfrem Lukatsky)

Barcelona's Clement Lenglet grimaces in pain after a tackle during the Champions League group G soccer match between Dynamo Kyiv and FC Barcelona at the Olimpiyskiy Stadium in Kyiv, Ukraine, Tuesday, Nov. 24, 2020. (AP PhotoEfrem Lukatsky)