The Barcelona B defense could really use Marc Bartra this season. - Martin Rose
Barcelona B blew a three goal lead in the game's final 15 minutes, ending the year with three consecutive draws. Two goals from Gerard Deulofeu and one each from Sergio Araujo and Rafinha weren't enough to end the year on a high note.
Barcelona B blew a three goal lead in the game's final 15 minutes, ending the year with three consecutive draws. Two goals from Gerard Deulofeu and one each from Sergio Araujo and Rafinha weren't enough to end the year on a high note.Barcelona B let a three goal lead slip away in the final seconds of the high scoring Catalan derby against Girona. Gerard Deulofeu (2), Sergio Araujo and Rafinha scored for Barcelona B, but Benja, Javier Acuña (2) and Luso all scored in the second half to give Barcelona B their third consecutive draw.
Starting XI: Oier Olazabal; Patric, Sergi Gómez, Carles Planas, Alejandro Grimaldo; Gustavo Ledes, Sergi Roberto, Rafinha; Luis Alberto, Sergio Araujo, Gerard Deulofeu
Bench: Miguel Bañuz, Ivan Balliu, Edgar Ié, Ilie Sanchez, Javier Espinosa, Kiko Femenia, Joan Angel Román
Two of the most used players by Eusebio, David Lomban and Cristian Lobato, weren't available to the coach for this game because of injuries. Gómez took Lomban's place in the heart of the defense while Araujo started in front three instead of Lobato. Dongou wasn't cleared by the medical staff, because of a small relapse and therefore wasn't available for selection.
Girona players showed when they walked out on the pitch that health is more important than any rivalry, wearing 'Anims Tito' shirts in support of Tito Vilanova.
Girona started the game with continuous pressure and had a very good opportunity to take the lead after just three minutes from a free kick. But Felipe Sanchón drilled it against the wall and the rebound, which fell back to Sanchón, was well saved by Oier.
Girona was also very organized in defense, causing Barcelona B many problems in play build-up. However, Deulofeu's speed can create problems to the fastest defenders and in the ninth minute he made a good run down the left wing. But because he had nobody in support, he was forced to take a shot from a bad angle and he didn't even test the keeper.
The (very) high pressure from the Girona players caused Barcelona B to misplace many passes. The player to struggle the most, especially in the early stages of the game, was Rafinha, which was very surprising because he usually does very well under pressure. But Rafinha settled in in the second part of the first half and was playing to his usual standards.
In the 25th minute Girona had three successive chances to score the game's first goal, but one shot went across the goalmouth, one was saved by Oier, while the last one was sent high over the crossbar.
The Girona defense did a very good job cutting off Deulofeu in the first half. The Barça youngster was changing sides very often, but Girona appeared to be prepared for that, as Deulofeu was always at least double teamed.
In the 33rd minute Girona created another golden opportunity to take the lead. David García brilliantly skipped past Patric and fired on goal, but Oier produced a very good save. However, the rebound fell right to Marcos Tébar, who was alone near the penalty spot, but the midfielder fired a very poor shot that didn't threaten the Barcelona goal.
In the next minutes Barcelona B started to get some chances of their own, but Araujo's attempt went wide of the target and Rafinha couldn't get a shot off. Gomez also had a chance for the B team, but his header wasn't powerful enough to cause Dani Mallo any problems.
Barça had two more chances in the 41st minute. First Roberto brilliantly found Deulofeu who again took a shot from a bad angle even though he had a wide open Alberto on the other side and Alberto was far from happy afterward. Just seconds later Deulofeu was again played through, but this time he passed it to Alberto whose shot was blocked for a corner kick. Deulofeu sent the corner kick to the edge of the six yards box where Araujo rose the highest and headed Barcelona in the lead.
The score remained the same until the halftime whistle. Both teams played a very strong half, but despite the fact that Girona had more clear chances it was Barcelona B who was in the lead.
Immediately after the restart Barça B threatened to extend the lead, but Deulofeu's dangerous low cross was cleared, while Roberto's long range shot went over the bar. In the next play Alberto was sent through all alone, but the referee blew the whistle for offside. The replays, however, showed that the play was wrongly called dead, as the left back was closer to his goalkeeper than Alberto. Araujo also had an opportunity to add another goal to his name, but his shot was too weak.
But in the 53rd minute Barcelona B managed to double the lead. Roberto played a fantastic through pass to Deulofeu who rounded the keeper and slotted the ball home. However, it would take Girona only two minutes to make it a one goal game again. Juanlu sent a perfect cross in from the left side where former Barça B player Benja headed the ball behind Oier to make it 2-1.
Even though the B team started the second half so brightly the goal scored by Benja took a lot of life from them. Girona started to press more after pulling one back and in the 58th minute Sanchón almost tied the game, but his shot bounced off the bar. A minute later Benja had a chance to level the score, but his attempt was excellently saved by Oier.
In the 65th minute Kiko came on the pitch for Araujo, and two minutes later Deulofeu brought some magic once again. Grimaldo played a lovely pass to Deulofeu who sent a defender the wrong way and beat the goalkeeper to restore the two goal cushion.
In the 74th minute Barcelona B struck again, this time it was Rafinha. Alberto swung in the free kick from the left side and found a wide open Rafinha who headed the ball in to put Barcelona in a commanding lead. Four minutes later, however, Acuña struck a fantastic half volley to make it a two goal game once again.
In an effort to strengthen the midfield and close down space Espinosa replaced Deulofeu in the 84th minute.
Girona would make things interesting in the 88th minute when Acuña scored his second off the game. The Barca defense fell completely asleep and with all the time in the world Acuña picked his spot and beat Oier to give Girona a chance to steal a point.
And Girona took their next chance in the 92nd minute after Patric fouled a Girona midfielder near the penalty box on the left side. The free kick was sent in and Luso was there to head the ball in after he clearly fouled Rafinha., however, the referee didn't agree. Oier was absolutely livid with the decision, and rightfully so. Rafinha was in perfect position to clear the ball away from danger and he was denied that opportunity thanks to a blatant push from Luso.
Oier earned a second yellow card for the protests and Banuz took his place in goal after he replaced Alberto for the final seconds of the game.
Neither team created a chance until the final whistle and so the goal-fest ended at eight goals scored, with each team scoring four. The draw means that Barcelona B ended the year with three consecutive draw which saw them drop from sixth place to eight in the final three weeks.
Barcelona B, and the rest of the Segunda, will be taking the holidays off and football will return on the first weekend of the new year, when Barcelona B will face recently demoted Villarreal CF.