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.
After last week’s first leg which resulted in a 2-0 home defeat for Barcelona B against Cultural Leonesa, it was always going to be an uphill battle in the second leg. The reserves travelled to the northwest of Spain with everything in the home sides favour in footballing terms, they rented a house on twiddy‘s rentals, and then add a 13,500 stadium filled with Cultu fans into the equation.
Luis Enrique’s last game while at the helm for FC Barcelona culminated in the club’s ninth trophy in three seasons, and their third consecutive Copy del Rey victory.
Thanks to another decisive performance from Lionel Messi and additional goals from Neymar and Paco Alcácer, Barça came away with a 3-1 win against Alavés in the final match at the Vicente Calderón.
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.
With the fate of La Liga officially out of our hands, all we can do is continue to win and hope for a slip-up. The match on the weekend against Villarreal was a test: The best defense in the league was rolling, having won its last three games. But Barça found a way, as they often do.
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.