The B could've used all three of these guys on Saturday - David Ramos
Barcelona B couldn't return to winning way against CD Guadalajara after their loss against Sabadell the previous weekend ended the B team's eight game unbeaten streak.
A week after blowing a two goal lead against Sabadell, Barcelona B "earned" their second consecutive defeat. But unlike in that terrible loss in the Catalan Derby the youngsters actually failed to show any kind of effort in this one. The only goal of the game was scored in the second half by Kepa Blanco.
Starting XI: Jordi Masip; Ivan Balliu, David Lomban, Carles Planas, Alejandro Grimaldo; Javier Espinosa, Gustavo Ledes, Cristian Lobato; Kiko Femenia, Sergio Araujo, Luis Alberto
Bench: Oier Olazabal, Sergi Gomez, Patric, Ilie Sanchez, Joan Angel Roman, Gerard Deulofeu, Jean Marie Dongou
Simply looking at the starting lineup you knew this was going to be a difficult task for the B team. Sergi Roberto is still recovering from his injury while Rafinha was suspended for the game because of yellow cards. Deulofeu, meanwhile, took a place on the bench. Espinosa was given a rare start in midfield, and on the right wing Kiko started instead of Dongou. Dongou has also been struggling to find playing time since his injury.
The first half was very difficult to watch, for both sets of fans. Neither team managed to do anything with the ball in the opening 25 minutes. While Barcelona dominated possession as soon as they got in the same zip code as Guadalajara's penalty box they simply gave the ball away. The only player who was having a good game offensively was Grimaldo who didn't put a foot wrong the entire game.
After the first 30 minutes of the game Guadalajara started to create some chances. The first opportunity was stopped by a sliding block by Lomban while the second was stopped by Masip. The visitors quickly created two more chances, but again they couldn't find a way past Masip. First Gustavo made a good interception and just seconds later Masip made a very strong save on Cristian Fernández.
Guadalajara continued with strong pressure until the end of the first half, giving Barcelona very little ball possession. But despite the good play by the visiting team they weren't able to break the deadlock. At the stroke of halftime the B team had a chance to steal the lead, but the visitors' goalkeeper made a good save to keep the game tied
Three minutes into the second half Barca created their first chance of the second half. Lobato fired from 20 yards out, slightly from the right side, but the keeper made a fingertip save to keep the ball out.
Barca continued with the good start to the half, but the next chance went to Guadalajara. Gorka Azkorra lost his marker (Lomban) and fired a good shot from inside the box, but Masip made a very good save to keep the game scoreless.
In the 55th minute Lomban made another mistake as he carelessly lost the ball on the right side. That led to a very dangerous chance for the visitors, but Planas made a last second block on the shot.
Eusebio then realized that his team needs some creativity in attack so he replaced Kiko with Deulofeu. However, the substitution didn't have the desired effect because Barcelona reverted to the very passive play they showed in the first half. The lack of fluidity and crispness was very evident and Guadalajara were happy to just wait for an inevitable mistake.
Dongou finally entered the pitch in the 72nd minute when he replaced Espinosa. That, however, also didn't do much to help the B team. The attacking third of the team was completely cut off from the rest of their teammates as there were no creative midfielders on the pitch.
The fans at the Mini Estadi had to wait until the 78th minute to see the next goalscoring opportunity, but much to their disapproval it was for Guadalajara. Vicente was played through after a bad attempt to block the pass by Lomban, and the midfielder found a wide open Kepa at the near post - because Lomban was still out of position. From there the forward had no problems finding the back of the net, putting the visitors in front.
Just two minutes later it could've been 2-0, but Planas cleared the ball off the line. Kepa also had an opportunity to double the lead, but his header was kept out by Masip.
Eusebio then made the final substitution, replacing arguably the best Barca player on the pitch, Grimaldo, with Roman. Barca struggled to create anything in the remaining time. It was actually Guadalajara who were the more dangerous team and Masip had to make another strong save on a Kepa attempt.
Looking back at the match, it was one of the worst performances by the B team this season. It's difficult to find a bright spot, but the play of Masip, not only in this game but ever since Oier started his suspension, has been absolutely brilliant. Without his several saves this one could've ended much worse for the youngsters.
Despite two consecutive loses Barcelona B still occupy a very respectable sixth position in the standings, but they are just four points away from eleventh place. The B team will have a chance to stop this losing skid on Saturday at the El Toralín stadium against SD Ponderradina.