Barça B Roundup: Return to winning ways
Barcelona B, leader of Group 3 of the Segunda B with 57 points, managed to return to winnng ways this weekend after two consecutive draws. The Blaugranas hosted a relegation-threatened UE Llagostera at the Miniestadi, and at the end of the ninety minutes they ensured that their Catalan neighbours wouldn’t be able to breath any easier, dealing them a heavy 4-0 defeat that was accompanied by plenty of spectacle.
A penalty to start the show
Gerard López kept true to his ideals with his match squad for the Llagostera match. Cucu and Mboula from the Juvenil A team (who will return to Nyon this year for the UEFA Youth League final four this year after lifting the trophy in 2014), were included in the gaffer’s call-up yet again, while Fali missed out. For his starting eleven, the hosts’ boss decided to give a well-deserved rest to Alberto Perea, while Cucu was once again entrusted with the left-back position. In central defence, the coach opted for a Marlon-Martínez pairing for the first time this season, meaning that Borja López surprisingly missed out on selection.
Barcelona B didn’t take long to score once the match kicked off. An attempt at a cross by Alfaro saw Llagostera captain Samu clearly handle the ball, and the referee duly pointed to the spot with barely two minutes played. Reinvigorated Gerard Gumbau stepped up to take the penalty, and made no mistake, firing an unstoppable effort past goalkeeper Moragón’s dive to give his team an early lead.
Visitors dominate, hosts execute
Conceding a goal seemed to galvanise Llagostera, as the visitors dominated the encounter after conceding. They tried to mount several attacks on José Suárez’s goal but very few got the hosts’ keeper worried. The clearest chance for the visitors came after Manel headed narrowly wide following a cross by Javi Chica.
Down the other end, Barcelona B were still finding joy against a porous defence. Dani Romera had a shout for a penalty waived away by the referee in a play that sparked lots of controversy. The Barcelona B forward sought to dribble around the keeper, who seemed to bring him down, but the referee nonetheless asked the teams to play on. It should have been another penalty and a red card for goalkeeper Moragón.
Dani Romera didn’t have his way though. Luckily, the Barça B number nine’s managed to positively channel his anger. Some great interplay between Aleñá and Cardona, saw the latter square to Romera just inside the box. On the turn, the striker fired into the top corner for Barcelona B’s second, leaving Llagostera with a Mount Everest to climb.
Alfaro sentences the match before half time
In the closing minutes of the first half, the hosts managed to add a third. The mercurial Aleñá dribbled past two opponents at once on the edge of the box, and then fed Alfaro, who cut inside before firing a powerful effort past Moragón. The so-called match, didn’t seem to be one at half-time, with the hosts 3-0 up.
After the restart, Barcelona B sought to control the tempo by keeping possession of the ball. Llagostera tried to trouble the hosts’ defence with some timid organised attacks, but failed to achieve much success.
Seeing that his team were up against a rival who wasn’t in the mood for any heroics, Gerard moved to rest some of his key men. Nili came on for Palencia in the 66th minute, while Gumbau came off for Xemi after complaining of some discomfort in his thigh.
75 minutes into the match, Cardona managed to recover the ball three quarters down the pitch, and played the ball to Romera. The striker speeded past his marker before assisting Alfaro, but the winger was denied his second of the night by a great stop by Moragón.
Gerard used up all his permitted substitutions on 77 minutes, with Borja López coming on for Martinez. There was time for one more goal in the match. Dani Romera completed his brace following a cut back by substitute Xemi, but the play once again begun from the feet of Barcelona B’s midfield general, Carles Aleñá. With 4 unanswered goals, Barcelona B enjoyed their return to winning ways in style.
There are plenty of reasons to smile after Saturday’s big win. Barcelona B let themselves loose, and the players had an enjoyable night out on the Miniestadi pitch. The team’s healthy lead at the top of the table remained intact, and for the icing to the cake, Carles Aleñá once again showed why next season he must cross Carrer d’Aristides Mallol and swap the humble Miniestadi for the Camp Nou floodlights.