Thiago, reflecting on how hard it is to say goodbye... to the season
Well, it's certainly been a very long season, hasn't it? A very successful one for FC Barcelona, not just the senior side, but the B team as well. Nobody expected them to do this well in the Segunda, but here they are, in 4th place entering the final round of matches. Luis Enrique has certainly done an excellent job and as a result is heading off to a more high-profile job (Roma?). Good luck in Italy, Luis.
Anyway, week 42 of the Segunda Division saw Barca B travel to Madrid to face newly-promoted Rayo Vallecano, who will return to La Primera for the first time in eight years. Rayo trailed league leaders Real Betis by one and if results went their way, could win the Segunda Division crown. A minor crown perhaps, but an achievement nonetheless, considering the financial troubles of the Madrid-based club.
Rayo Vallecano: Juan Calos; Tito, De la Vega, Amaya, Casado; Rafa García; Armenteros, Movilla, Míchel, Piti (Borja) and Trejo.
Barcelona B: Olazábal; Edu Oriol, Bartra, Planas, Abraham; Ilie, Oriol Romeu, Carmona, Tello; Jonathan Soriano and Benja.
For the millionth time in recent weeks, Barca B had a ton of players missing, this time international duty was the excuse (youth international duty, that is). Estadio Rivero was in a festive mood, with the home side's pending promotion and Rayo felt they needed to win and close the season on a high. They certainly started like it, laying siege to Barca B's goal. A free header by Piti just outside the six-yard box was headed for trouble until his own teammate deflected it out of harm's way. Another thru ball had Olazabal scrambling off his line and a shot blocked at the goal line. Piti again went in on Olazabal alone only to be denied by the keeper and on the counter-attack, Barca B striker Jonathan Soriano was 1 on 1 against the Juan Calos, only for his shot to be denied by the post. Rayo finally broke the deadlock, as a mistake by Planas allowed Piti to finish neatly past Olazabal. 1-0 to the hosts.
Rayo tried to extend the lead through Armenteros and Trejo, but both were denied by Olazabal. Ten minutes before the break, Barca B hit back on the counter. As Rayo was scrambling back, Tello went on a run on the left, got a yard on his marker, and fired past Juan Calos to tie things up. Six minutes later, Rayo were once again caught pressing forward and Tello busted the offside trap. He then beat Juan Calos at his near post, 2-1 to Barca B at halftime.
The second half was oddly less frenetic than the first half. Barca B pretty much wrapped up the points in the 66th minute, when league-leading goal scorer Jonathan Soriano was afforded too much space just outside the box and he rounded the keeper and fired in his 32nd goal of the season. Oscar Trejo, on loan from Mallorca, managed to make things interesting at 3-2 eight minutes from time, but eventually Barcelona B took home the points.
Barcelona B finishes the season in 3rd place in Liga Adelante, and Rayo Vallecano finishes 2nd, and goes on to La Liga next season.