Barça B Roundup: No miracle
After last week’s first leg which resulted in a 2-0 home defeat for Barcelona B against Cultural Leonesa, it was always going to be an uphill battle in the second leg. The reserves travelled to the northwest of Spain with everything in the home sides favour in footballing terms, and then add a 13,500 stadium filled with Cultu fans into the equation.
Cultural had their chances in the opening minutes as Gerard López’s side went attacking from the first whistle, one hitting the inside of Alberto Varo’s left post before being booted clear by Fali. And just as you thought the miracle couldn’t become more unlikely; B midfielder Xemi suffered an injury with just 20 minutes played, forcing Marlon Santos to come on and Fali to be moved into midfield.
Despite all of these setbacks, Barcelona B took the lead in the 36th minute after a great flick on from Dani Romera found its way through to Jesús Alfaro who still had it all to do, but dispatched with quality into the bottom left corner, and suddenly the chances of at least taking the game to extra-time didn’t seem as impossible as before.
The teams’ went into the break with the score at 0-1 with Cultural leading 2-1 on aggregate.
It was important for Gerard’s men to put there all into the second period if they wanted to gain promotion through the Champions’ play-off phase, and it all seemed to be going to plan, but a strange few minutes seemed to change the game. The 58th minute saw Carles Aleñá substituted for Alberto Perea, a change that seemed surprising as Aleñá, despite sometimes failing to really make an impact, has all the ability to change games like these and inspire a comeback. Just six minutes after the sub, Cultural made it 1-1 on the day and 3-1 on aggregate after a miss-hit shot made it’s way to Julen Colinas who tucked home.
At this stage the result was all but done, and the game seemed to be a lost cause for Gerard’s men, but to add insult to injury, Cultural added another goal to win the second leg through Álex Gallar’s wonderful freekick.
The match will surely put Gerard López’s position at the club under question after making some strange tactical decisions in recent matches, but the coach and his team will have to pick themselves up as they now see themselves in the Non-Champions’ phase of the play-offs, where they will play Cartagena in a two-legged affair, before facing either Racing Santander or Villanovense in a final.
CULTURAL LEONESA: Palatsí, Ángel, Victor, Gianni, Ivan González, Yeray, Colinas (Martinez , 71’), Ortiz, Benja, Toni & Gallar (Iago Díaz, 80’).
BARÇA B: Varo, Palencia, Cucurella (Kaptoum, 86’), Fali, Martínez, Aleñá (Perea, 57’), Xemi (Marlon, 22’), Gumbau, Dani Romera, Cardona & Alfaro
Goals: 0-1, Alfaro (36’); 1-1, Julen (64’); 2-1, Gallar (76’).