On Friday night, Barcelona B was held to a 1-1 draw against Recreativo de Huelva in a game which included two sendings off, one for each side. Barça’s goal, a penalty taken by Jonathan Soriano, was cancelled out at the end of the game by Aarón, leaving the reserve side with 23 points after 13 matches. Barcelona B currently reside in 4th place, which depending on Sunday’s results will drop no lower than 6th. Details of the match, highlights, and Luis Enrique’s post-match comments can all be found after the jump.
Marc Muniesa (Carles Planas, 74′)
Víctor Vázquez (Jonathan Dos Santos, 69′)
Jonathan Soriano (Rubén Rochina, 79′)
Bench: Jordi Masip, Carles Planas, Martí Riverola, Jonathan Dos Santos, Cristian Tello, Saúl Berjón, and Rubén Rochina
Referee: Piñeiro Crespo
Cards for Barça: Armando (straight red, 81′)
Details of the match (from Barca’s official site):
The hosts took the lead from the penalty spot when Jonathan Soriano netted in the first half, but in the closing minutes the visitors snatched a share of the spoils with an equaliser from Aarón Ñíguez. Along with a goal apiece, Barça and Recre were also shown a red card each too as Armando was sent off and was quickly followed for an early bath by Aarón, who went from hero to villain on the night. Luis Enrique’s Blaugrana proved once again why they are enjoying such a successful return to the second tier of Spanish football with another assured performance against a strong Andalucian outfit.
A bright start saw Barça press forward and after just five minutes the visitors’ keeper, Fabricio, was forced into action to make two saves as Carlos Carmona and Marc Bartra both went close to making the breakthrough. When the away team regrouped they sought to test the hosts’ back line, but found the Blaugrana defence in good form and the game settled down. Soriano tried his luck after 15 minutes while at the other end Rubén Miño watched a drive fly high over his crossbar
Chances began to come thick and fast and the game was not even a quarter of the way through. Sergi Roberto found Soriano and he had another shot. Miño was called into action to deny Acuña and soon after the first goal came. Nolito broke into the area on 23 minutes and was fouled by Raúl Cámara which left the referee with no choice but to point to the spot. Soriano stepped forward and made no mistake from 12 yards as he steered the ball past Fabricio and into the net.
With the lead secured Barça B took control of proceedings and looked likely to add to their goal as they moved forward. Increasing the tally proved to be difficult however and Luis Enrique was left frustrated on several occasions as he watched his players go close, but without the finish. There were claims after the break for a second penalty when Lamas appeared to handle in the area. Again Miño had to remain focused as Jesús Vázquez forced him into making a stop in the 63rd minute of what had become an entertaining match.
Muniesa suffered an ankle injury with 20 minutes remaining and it took the side some time to settle after his exit. The evening then took an unexpected turn when a foul right in front of the referee by Armando prompted the official to reach for the red card with nine minutes left on the clock. Recre did not need asking twice, within 60 seconds they had drawn level as Aarón beat Miño. The goalscorer was wrapped up in his celebration too much to remember an earlier booking and after taking off his shirt he was shown a second yellow card to bring the number of players on each side to ten.
Barça used the remaining time to press for a winner and Bartra could have given them all three points only for his shot to clip the woodwork. A point each was the reward at the end and it ensures that Barça B will remain in the top six for yet another week
Post-match press conference:
Speaking after the match, Barcelona B’s coach Luis Enrique expressed satisfaction with the performance of his players, despite the game ending in a draw.
“It was a good possession game against a team that put all three of its lines behind the ball, that plays the ball around well, and that packed the defence, which is never easy to play against. I’m annoyed the players weren’t rewarded with the three points, but I’m happy with the work we did.”
Asked about the injury to defender Marc Muniesa, Luis Enrique replied, “He twisted an ankle in a clash with an opponent but it’s not serious. But we’ll never run risks with reserve team players.” The coach clarified that Medical Services will examine the player, but it looks like he should be able to train normally this week.
So far this season, Martín Montoya is the only Barça B player to have played all 1,170 minutes. Speaking of the player, Luis Enrique said, “he’s competent, and although we have no natural right backs in the team we do have Dalmau, Balliu, Campabadal in the youth team, and Ilie can also be played in that position. He’s competent, and doing well there … I’m happy with his performances and not just his but that of the whole team.”
Continuing his comments about specific players, Enrique notes, “I liked Armando a lot, he’s is playing good football, and brings a lot to the side. I was annoyed that he got sent off, but there was no stopping that ball any other way. Bartra played well. Gómez, Andreu [Fontas]… any of those players can work in that position without lowering the level of the team, but quite the opposite.”
Speaking about the rumours surrounding Thiago Alcántara’s possible promotion to the first team, Enrique stated that “he is a B player but I’m very happy to see he’s getting chances in the first team but that is Pep’s decision … He has trained some days with us this week. I think he’s doing the right thing. He deserves as much praise as any of the reserve team, for playing with the first team and then coming back to us and playing with the same motivation.”
In their next game, the B team will face league leaders Real Betis: “We treat each game especially, and put lots of hours into the preparation. We get it wrong sometimes, but the work is always the same… There’s special motivation about Betis because they’re the second division side that has spent the most time in the first [position], but for us it’s no more important than going to Granada or Córdoba … But we have the bonus of how much the players want to play at the Benito Villamarín, and that kind of motivation should make it a great game.”