Barcelona B went into the second leg of their promotion playoff against Cartagena defending a valuable 2-1 lead from the first leg away from home. In the previous round, the Blaugranas suffered a damaging home defeat against Cultural, and this time round, they wouldn’t let it slip. On Sunday, Cartagena managed to become one of the few teams which beat Barcelona B at the Miniestadi this season, but their 1-0 win was in vain, as the Barça reserves scraped their way to the final whistle to earn a hard-fought ticket for the final on away goals.
It was all shaping up so well for Barcelona B. The reserves majestically clinched top spot in their Segunda B group to secure a place in the group winners playoff. They received Cultural Leonesa at the Miniestadi on Saturday with all the excitement in the world, but it was not enough. The team from Castilla y León proved to be no pushovers, and although Barcelona B had the most chances, the visitors took home a commanding 2-0 lead ahead of the next week’s return leg at the Estadio Reino de León. Barcelona B will be needing a minor miracle if they are to secure the ticket to the Segunda A from next week, but if anything, the first lef does leave room for optimism despite the result.
The concept of Luis Enrique’s Barcelona winning the league on the final day seemed a far-fetched idea since the loss to Málaga in April. The miracles can seem doable when they are in your hands but when you have to count on a team who have nothing to play for, it’s very difficult to be hopeful. So let’s discuss the final game of the league season and the Luis Enrique era, instead of getting caught up on the loss of the title.
Three goals and 3 very important points should be the biggest take-away from the match at Espanyol. As disappointing as it is, Real Madrid, winning at the death (again) courtesy of a fine Marcelo effort ensured that the destiny of the league title is still very much in their hands. That being said, had Barca stumbled at all against their local rivals the title race would have officially been over, so credit where credit is due to the players for grinding out a good result.
Get the job done. That’s what yesterday’s match against relegation-threatened AE Prat was all about for FC Barcelona B. Last, they conceded a late goal and let the chance to secure top spot in the league slip. Not this time though. The Blaugranas made light work of their visitors and after the referee’s final whistle, the Miniestadi, finally went into party mode.
The Camp Nou was buzzing as almost 100,000 fans commemorated Lionel Messi’s 500 goals. It seemed as if the match against Osasuna was a side attraction. The match ended up being enjoyable while putting pressure on Real Madrid to perform. Leo appreciated the gesture, but, as we saw, he wasn’t done yet.
This review comes at a delay because I’ve spent the last two days in a fugue state, waiting to wake up from what surely must have been a culé’s hopeful, feverish imaginings.
Watching FC Barcelona outclassed in the quarterfinals of the Champions League and now facing a must win scenario in El Clásico has finally shown how unbalanced the club has become. With a final in the Copa del Rey still looming, most clubs would feel fortunate to be in a position to win one title let alone the possibility of two at this point in the season, but Barcelona is more than a club. The problem most pressing to the club now is how to utilize the greatest player of all time to his fullest potential with however many remaining seasons he decides to play.
Yes, I know about PSG and that historic comeback. That was truly something special, a magical night at the Camp Nou when we witnessed something that had never happened before. A 6-1 win after being 4-0 down? A stoppage time winner that saw a stadium of nearly 100,000 explode? Sergi Roberto will forever have a special place in the hearts of all Barça fans. Neymar’s undying faith that anything can happen fueled his wonderful play. It was one of the greatest nights in football history – unless you’re a PSG fan, of course.
But la Juve is a different beast altogether.
Barcelona B, leaders of Group 3 of the Segunda División B, continued their impressive march towards clinching top spot with a narrow but immensely valuable 1-0 win over Catalan neighbors Lleida. Gerard’s team was pressed hard by the visitors at the Miniestadi, but an impressive start and some desperate defending in the closing stages was enough to seal the win. The Blaugranas march on unimpeded towards the big goal of promotion.