My MVP of the game (not the one in yellow).
In the search not only for their first victory of the season, but also for their first point, Barcelona B faced off against Isaac Cuenca's former team, CE Sabadell FC. Third time's the charm apparently as Barcelona B finally celebrated their first win. The first goal came from an unlikely source as Kiko Femenia opened the scoring and Rafinha then added the insurance goal.
Eusebio Sacristan once again showed he is full of surprises leaving the team's best offensive threats, Gerard Deulofeu and Jean Marie Dongou, on the bench as he replaced them with Kiko and Sergio Araujo. In defense left-back Carles Planas replaced the suspended Sergi Gomez, and Alejandro Grimaldo started at left back. One of the team's bright spots, Javier Espinosa, didn't even make the bench, along with new arrival Joan Angel Roman.
Starting XI: Oier Olazabal; Ivan Balliu, David Lomban, Carles Planas, Alejandro Grimaldo; Ilie Sanchez, Sergi Roberto, Rafinha; Kiko Femenia, Cristian Lobato, Sergio Araujo
Bench: Jordi Masip, Patric, Agostinho Cá, Gustavo Ledes, Luis Alberto, Gerard Deulofeu, Jean Marie Dongou
Barça started the Catalan derby very brightly as they controlled the ball from the first minute. Sabadell were dangerous on the counter but at the 15 minute mark Barcelona B took the lead. After some impressive dribbling by Rafinha the ball came to Araujo who passed it to Kiko on the right side of the box. The winger took a couple steps forward and fired inside of the far post.
Barcelona B continued to be the more dangerous team in the remaining 30 minutes of the first half but they weren't able to add to the lead. But it wasn't for the lack of trying. Kiko almost scored his second of the game, but he was denied by a good save from the Sabadell keeper. Lobato also had a terrific chance to score after he was perfectly set up by Rafinha but the winger once again showed he shouldn't be a member of the starting XI.
In the final five minutes of the half Sabadell picked up the pace and pressed hard to get the equalizer before halftime. The lead almost disappeared as Sabadell launched a counter but Oier made a good save. Oier again had to be on his toes a minute later as the young goalkeeper turned away a shot destined inside the near post. The Barça B keeper made one more routine save before the halftime whistle to preserve the 1-0 lead.
Barça started the second half much better than they ended the first. Just two minutes after the re-start Rafinha and Balliu combined on the right side which sent Rafinha through all alone and he made no mistake. 2-0 Barcelona B
Ten minutes later Sergi Roberto sent Balliu flying down the right wing. The full-back sent a very good low cross inside the box but Roberto arrived just too late to tip the ball in for what would be a very comfortable lead. Araujo also had the opportunity to add to the lead. He showed very good skill to skip past the defender but his low shot was well saved by Nauzet Pérez. Just seconds later Kiko fired a shot from the edge of the area but he hit the crossbar.
Araujo then made way as he was replaced by Dongou. The young Cameroonian didn't take long to showcase his skill as he dribbled past two defenders on the left side but his shot was saved. Dongou then appeared make it 3-0 after he redirected Kiko's pass but the goal was correctly ruled out for offside. Dongou then scored again, this time he was expertly set up by Lobato, but again the goal was correctly canceled for offside.
After barely hanging on in the second half Sabadell threatened on a couple occasions but first Oier was well positioned to fight off the shot and a minute later Aníbal fired just over the bar.
15 minutes before the end of the game Deulofeu replaced Kiko who had an excellent game, maybe even his best since joining Barcelona from Hércules last season. Had luck been on his side today he could have easily ended the game with a hat-trick.
In the end this game really should've ended with a more comfortable score. Sergi Roberto and Dongou even went on a 2 on 1 counter but the Cameroonian couldn't convert after he was perfectly set up by Roberto. The rebound then fell to a wide open Deulofeu, who was following the play, but he missed the wide open net.
Luis Alberto replaced the Barça B maestro, Sergi Roberto, in final stages of the game but he wasn't on the pitch long enough to make any impact. Sabadall failed to threaten Barcelona's lead in the final minutes meaning Eusebio and his team celebrated their first victory of the season.
Rafinha was nearly unstoppable today. In addition to his goal he commanded the midfield and made several amazing runs between two or even three defenders. A simply fantastic performance by Thiago's younger brother.
A lot has been said about this team's bad defense but it actually looked competent today. Lomban improved greatly and Planas wasn't terrible even though he played outside of his comfort zone. And despite having many attacking responsibilities neither Balliu nor Grimaldo were caught out of position.