Barcelona’s Miniestadi was jumping as the teams took to the pitch in front of a sell out 16,000 crowd.
Top scorers in the Segunda Division, Barca B sat comfortably in 5th place going into this match whilst their 16th placed opponents Real Madrid Castilla were making their first trip to the miniestadi in 15 years and were hoping to do better than their last visit which resulted in a 5-0 loss back in 1998.
As expected with these two fierce rivals, the opening 10 minutes were conducted at a frenetic pace with both teams going close in an end to end encounter. Denis Cheryshev twice worked Barca keeper Masip whilst at the other end, Gerard Deulofeu was pulling the strings for the hosts.
On 15″ Madrid’s Mosquera scythed down Rafinha and was rightly yellow carded and Barca’s Grimaldo really should have joined him in the book on 19″ for a blatant body check.
Castilla keeper Mejias was having the game of his life and denied Araujo for a 3rd time saving the Barca man’s acrobatic effort with his feet.
Luis Alberto must’ve thought he had broken the deadlock for Barca on 28″, but his stinging right foot drive was palmed away yet again by Mejias and just 3 minutes later Alberto was again denied by the keeper.
The pace of the match hadn’t let up by the half hour mark. Both sides continued to work openings and on 34 a beautiful cross from Juanfran was powered home by Madrid’s Morata. Lomban dallied too long in the Barca back line and allowed Morata space for a full length diving header from 8 yards out.
The visitors went into the break ahead and Eusebio’s half time team talk must’ve done the trick as Barca came out firing on all cylinders. Deulofeu was unlucky not to connect with a wonderful through ball from the impressive Alberto on 48 and increased Barca pressure should’ve seen Grimaldo do better when well placed inside the area.
The match really began to hot up on 55. Araujo expertly shielded the ball from 3 Castilla players over by the corner flag but the over zealous Alex Fernandez, unable to take the ball from the Argentine, took it upon himself to raise his hands and push the Barca man in the face. Araujo’s over reaction was unnecessary but Alex would’ve seen red in any case.
Down to 10, Castilla couldn’t get out of their half as wave after wave of Barca attacks followed, Mejias again to the fore with some smart saves.
It was only a matter of time before Barca were back in the game and so it proved. On 64″ a smart left foot finish from Araujo saw Mejias finally beaten. Game on! Barca poured forward and a wonderful counter attack just 5 minutes later saw Araujo get on the end of a pinpoint low cross from Alberto to put the hosts into the lead 2-1. The Miniestadi was in raptures.
When Morata was called for a hand ball in the penalty area on 78″, the referee was left with no option other than to book the player and give a penalty to Barca. Deulofeu confidently stepped up on and sent Mejias the wrong way, 3-1 Barca.
The last 12 minutes were played almost exclusively in the midfield and the final score was a fair reflection of the game as a whole.
Final Score: Barcelona B 3-1 Real Madrid Castilla
Barça B: Masip, Balliu, Planas, Lombán, Grimaldo, Gus Ledes, Lobato, Rafinha, Araujo, Deulofeu, Luis Alberto
Real Madrid Castilla: Mejías, Fabinho, Juanfran, Nacho, Casado, Iván G, Alex, Mosquera, Cheryshev, Borja, Morata
0-1 Morata (min 34″)
1-1 Araujo (min 64″)
2-1 Araujo (min 69″)
3-1 Deulofeu (min 78″)
This review was written by our Barça B correspondent, Jason Pettigrove. Follow Jason on twitter @jasonpettigrove.