Seven wins and one draw from their last 8 matches. Third place in the standings, with 57 points. Only six points behind league leaders Real Betis and Rayo Vallecano (63). Top scorers in the division with 66 goals. Jonathan Soriano the Pichici of the division, leading with 23 goals. This B team is aiming to finish the season with the highest standing in the Second Division of any reserve team in Barça history, and they are well on their way! Details of the match, Luis Enrique’s comments, and highlights are all below. Enjoy!
Jonathan Dos Santos (Ilie Sánchez, 73′)
Carlos Carmona (Víctor Vázquez, 63′)
Nolito (Saúl Berjón, 75′)
Bench: Carlos Castarnado Muñoz, Armando Lozano, Carles Planas, Ilie Sánchez, Saúl Berjón, Cristian Tello, and Víctor Vázquez
Granada: Roberto, Nyom, Mainz, Benítez, Mikel Rico, Siqueira, Orellana, Lucena, Juande, Geijo, and Abel Gómez (Ighalo, 66′)
Cards for Barça: Bartra (36′), Sergi Roberto (61′), Muniesa (64′)
Referee: Prieto Iglesias
Match Report (from Barça’s official site):
The B team now sit third, and have put together an unbeaten run of eight games. Pep Guardiola, Andoni Zubizarreta and Narcís Julià all watched the game from the stands.
Barça B showed Granada what to expect early on when Nolito hit the post in the first minute and the visitors had no options in the first part of the game as Luis Enrique’s players dominated. Jordi Masip, standing in whilst Oier and Miño were with the first team, had little to do in the early stages and on the quarter hour mark, Jonathon dos Santos crossed from the right and Nolito laid it back for Bartra to head home the opener.
Although it wasn’t a particularly rough game, Granada were then reduced to 10 men after Siquera saw his second yellow. Granada boss Fabri was also shown a straight red for his protests and Granada picked up a further four yellow cards before the break.
Even so, the visitors could have drawn level as their confidence grew following Roberto’s penalty save from Soriano and on 39 minutes, Orellano saw a shot come back off the post after a Barça mix up in defence.
After withstanding Granada’s moment of pressure, Barça B came back and Soriano made it two in injury time, heading in another Dos Santos cross and putting him level at the top of the division’s goalscorers table.
The second half was all Barça and Soriano came close to scoring again on 49 minutes, whilst Carmona also saw his effort go just wide five minutes later. Granada’s Geijo and Soriano were now joint top scorers in the league, but it was the Barça man who pushed ahead when he rounded the keeper and fired home his second of the night on 70 minutes for his 23rd goal of the campaign.
A great pass from Víctor Vázquez, who’d come on for Carmona, set up Sergi Roberto to head home the fourth on 80 minutes and Granada finished the game with 9 men after Nyom picked up his second yellow late on.
Luis Enrique: “We are in the best moment of the season”
The blugrana reserves coach, Luis Enrique Martínez, acknowledged after winning on Friday against Granada in the Mini Estadi, that “we are probably in the best form of the year, both physically and in our collective play.”
The victory against Granada – one of Barça B’s direct rivals in the Second Division leaders spaces – means that, after 33 matchdays, the reserves are holding their best position since the start of the season. Barça B is third, just 6 points behind joint leaders Real Betis and Rayo Vallecano.
The Asturian coach, despite the victory, believes “we can still improve, not so much our game, but there are some specific details. When Granada went a man down – with the expulsion of Siqueira – the game was still undecided. Until the fourth goal, I was not certain that we would secure the 3 points.”
In any case, the blaugrana coach also stated that “my players are not machines, and, therefore, the Granada [match] is already history. Now we must relax and prepare to play the next game in Huelva.”
The fact that, again, Jonathan Soriano is the top scorer in the Second Division “is satisfying for all and a single individual objective. If no one is more aware of this than the group, then everything is fine. If your colleagues think more about this award than their teammate, we can build on the example of Eto’o when he was in the first team, when they [his teammates] all played for him [to set him up as the top scorer], but the goals didn’t arrive.”
“We want to be the best reserve side, for Barça. I’m been reading that we can be the best reserve side in the world, we want to end up in area of promotion and much more. We’ll see what happens over the remaining matchdays – nine games – but for now the goal is the same: to be the best reserve side in the history of the club. If later we can vary this objective, even better, but for now, the goal is what it is.”
Highlights: (embedded from here)
Next match: Recreativo de Huelva vs FC Barcelona B, Friday April 15 at 21:00 (Matchday 34)
Photos: Miguel Ruiz - FCB