I really need to get access to more Deulofeu pictures... - David Ramos
After some disappointing performances, Barcelona B finally put it all together and won in comfortable fashion at the Mini Estadi.
Barcelona B have ended their three game winless streak with a commanding victory over the struggling Racing Santander. Two goals from wunderkind Gerard Deulofeu and one each from Cristian Lobato and Luis Alberto were more than enough to see off the visitors' challenge. Mamadou Koné scored the lone goal for Racing.
Starting XI: Jordi Masip; Patric, David Lombán, Carles Planas, Alejandro Grimaldo; Sergi Roberto, Gustavo Ledes, Rafinha; Gerard Deulofeu, Luis Alberto, Cristian Lobato
Bench: Miguel Bañuz, Ivan Balliu, Edgar Ie, Ilie Sanchez, Javier Espinosa, Joan Angel Roman, Sergio Araujo
With Oier Olazabal traveling with the first team to Valencia, Masip started his third consecutive game. Meanwhile it appears that Gustavo is getting more responsibilities as he once again started at defensive midfielder, after he spent most of the season on the bench, with only a few appearances. Surprisingly, Jean Marie Dongou didn't even make the bench for this game.
Barça B started brightly and quickly created a couple scoring chances, the best one coming in the 13th minute when Patric was brought down just inside the box for a penalty. Deulofeu stepped up and confidently fired in the opposite direction of the keeper for the quick lead.
Barcelona continued to press forward to increase their lead and they were rewarded mere seconds before the half hour mark when Lobato finished off a great counter attack. Rafinha did most of the work himself as he received the ball in his own half and ran with it until he got about 25 yards from the opposing goal when he found Lobato running down the right side. Lobato skipped nicely past the only defender in his way and fired a diagonal shot past Dani Sotres to double the lead.
Barça B were playing really well at this point, but it has to be said that Racing were pretty much awful and to limit the damage even made a first half substitution, even though there was no injury. The substitution was a familiar face as former canterano Gai Assulin came on.
At the stroke of halftime Deulofeu once again showcased his magic. Rafinha again won a lot of space down the middle, passed the ball to the young winger, who immediately cut to the middle. Deulofeu effortlessly ran in between two defenders, rounded the keeper and from a bad angle powered it in to make it 3-0.
At halftime Balliu replaced Grimaldo, hinting that the left-back might have suffered a knock, but no reports were made since the final whistle suggesting any injury.
Barcelona B continued to control the game, but with a comfortable lead there was no sense of urgency in attack. Regardless, the youngster still created many chances. A minute after Roman came on the pitch - in the 56th minute he replaced Lobato - he fired a shot on goal from close range after an excellent cross from Deulofeu, but Sotres was there to deny the midfielder. Sotres made another strong save just moments later, this time on Deulofeu, after he created a scoring opportunity from literally nothing.
Soon after Barça B spoiled another fantastic chance. Roberto was played through brilliantly by Balliu with a 60 yard pass, and while Roberto controlled the ball very well, he looked undecided if he wanted to round the keeper or shoot right away. So he did neither and allowed the keeper to pounce on the ball.
Five minutes later, in the 65th minute, Barcelona B finally added the fourth goal. Deulofeu played the ball beautifully to Alberto, who fired from just inside of the box to the keeper's top left corner. It was another gorgeous looking goal and again Deulofeu was in the middle of all the action.
But just three minutes later Racing scored what turned out to be only a consolidation goal and it really was just a case of bad luck for the defense. Planas might have been beaten badly down Racing's right wing, but Kone's bad pass to the middle it bounced off of Planas straight back to him. Lomban, however, was there to try to clear the ball away, but his shot hit Kone and squeaked inside of the post. The goal assured the continuation of the B team's streak without a clean sheet, which is now spanning six games, since October 13.
The remainder of the game didn't feature many chances. The only two really noteworthy were both Rafinha's attempts, but the first one, a header, went just wide, while the second, a long range shot, was just tipped over the bar by Sotres. Eusebio also made the final substitution when he replaced Deulofeu with Araujo, but the Argentine had little influence on the game.
With the final whistle the Blaugrana players were able to celebrate their first win in four games. Rafinha might not have featured on the scoreboard in this game, but he was, along with Deulofeu, the most influential player on the pitch. Alberto was also very impressive.
After 15 games played Barcelona B find themselves in 6th place in the Segunda División, 12 points from first place and 9 points from the relegation zone.
Barcelona B play their next game on Saturday in Lugo at the Anxo Carro stadium, where they will face off against CD Lugo.