With the recent poor defensive performances against Almeria and Real Madrid Castilla fresh in the memory, Eusebio Sacristan took the opportunity of giving his Barça B team a behind closed doors run out against FC Santboia last Wednesday morning.
The match at the Ciutat Esportiva Joan Gamper was designed to restore some much needed confidence before the Sabadell game and it was also a chance for some squad players to stake a claim for a starting place.
A business like performance from the Blaugrana saw them triumph 5-1. Dongou weighed in with a brace and Joan Angel Roman, Miguel Maza and an OG were the other scorers for Barca B.
On Thursday, Barça B players Tello, Planas, Roberto & Deulofeu (first call up) were delighted to be informed of a call up for the Spanish U21 side for their games against Switzerland and Croatia-would the good news and the performance against Santboia set the team up nicely for the visit of Sabadell to the Miniestadi? Barca President Sandro Rosell was one of a fantastic crowd of 4,535, who were no doubt tempted by the offer of a combined ticket to this match followed by the senior side’s game v Valencia, FCB’s marketing dept playing a blinder with that one.
Dongou had found himself relegated to the bench. Given his abject performance v Real Madrid Castilla it was perhaps understandable, but still something of a surprise, Araujo being preferred up front. Joining the Cameroonian on the bench was Deulofeu which seemed a gamble by Eusebio to say the least, especially given that the winger had started the season as well as anyone.
There was no real play of note in the first quarter of an hour, save for a couple of moves by either side which came to nothing. Barca took the lead after some great work by Rafinha. In a congested midfield, quick feet by the youngster allowed him the time to feed Kiko whose low, hard shot across the keeper found its way just inside the far post.
Much of the game was being played in the middle of the park, with Barca’s Sergi Roberto once again showing his class. Sabadell were offering nothing as an attacking force, a couple of half chances as good as it got for the away side.
On 35, Kiko almost scored his second, his shot hitting the keepers side as he fell and bouncing just wide of the post. Not long after this a clear elbow from Araujo went unpunished, the Argentine once again showing his fiery temper for no apparent reason. A great run by the ex Boca Juniors man a minute before the break deserved better but Barca were good value for their 1-0 half time lead.
Player of the match Rafinha put the hosts further in front on 48, his low shot too strong for the Sabadell keeper. A great break by Barca on 59 should’ve seen them go even further ahead but Balliu’s driven cross was just missed by the industrious Roberto. Araujo went close on 63 and Kiko crashed a shot against the crossbar on 65, Sabadell’s impotency clear for all to see, Barca dominating.
Dongou eventually made his bow on 68 minutes. Within 2 minutes of coming on, the Cameroon youngster, a graduate of the Samuel Eto’o academy, had seen a goal disallowed for offside and then had another chalked off, again offside, on 73 minutes. Deulofeu replaced Kiko on 76, just after a fantastic mazy run by Rafinha which saw him beat 4 before being fouled just outside the area, the resulting free kick coming to nothing.
Sabadell were disappointing. Oier was worked once or twice but they will have to play much better to enjoy the backing of their vocal travelling army of fans, who would’ve left disappointed by what they witnessed.
Sergi Roberto set up a double chance late on but both Dongou and Deulofeu fluffed their lines when it would’ve been easier to score. In the end a comfortable 2-0 win for Eusebio’s side who can finally celebrate getting their first win of the season.
Barcelona B starting XI vs CE Sabadell:
Sergi Roberto ((Luis Alberto, 88″)
Kiko Femenia (Gerard Deulofeu, 75″)
Sergio Araujo (Jean Marie Dongou, 63″)
Jean Marie Dongou
1-0 Kiko (16 mins)
2-0 Rafinha (47 mins)
This review was written by our Barca B correspondent, Jason Pettigrove. Follow Jason on twitter @jasonpettigrove