Segunda División: Sporting Gijón 5 - 2 FC Barcelona B: Match Review

David Ramos

Sporting Gijón ended Barcelona B's three game unbeaten run by scoring five goals into Jordi Masip's net while Barça only managed to counter with two.

After a three game stretch that included two victories and a draw, Sporting Gijón ended the Catalan's unbeaten streak. Rafinha started the scoring, but five unanswered goals by the hosts ensured the three points wouldn't be leaving Asturias. Barça B got a second consolidation goal in added time when Javier Espinosa found the back of the net.

Starting XI: Jordi Masip; Patric, David Lombán, Marc Muniesa, Carles Planas; Ilie Sanchez, Sergi Roberto, Rafinha; Luis Alberto, Jean Marie Dongou, Gerard Deulofeu

Bench: Miguel Bañuz, Ivan Balliu, Sergi Gómez, Gustavo Ledes, Javier Espinosa, Joan Angel Román, Sergio Araujo

Eusebio fielded arguably the best lineup he possibly could have, with the most arguable part being Lomban who keeps getting playing time despite hardly ever impressing.

Barcelona came storming out of the gate and was able to take the lead in the very first minute of the game. Patric showed excellent dribbling to skip past the hosts' left back and send a cross to the middle, where Rafinha powered a header to the back of the net for the early advantage.

Sporting employed high pressure from the start, pressure Barcelona struggled to cope with. The visitors' passing lacked accuracy and as a result Sporting were able to rely on counter attacks. But good scoring chances were hard to come by for the home side.

On rare occasions when Barcelona beat the pressure they had chances to add to the lead. After a good long pass by Patric, Deulofeu made a nice run, but a last second tackle from behind dispossessed him of the ball. However, the ball almost surprised the keeper, who barely prevented an own goal. The ball came back to Deulofeu, who from a bad angle saw his try blocked on the line by a defender.

After the missed chance by Deulofeu Sporting went on their best stretch of the game. They were relentless in attack, but the Barcelona B defense was able to limit Sporting to shots from the perimeter. But in the 41st minute a long-range shot found it's way past Masip and into the net. Patric was able to clear the initial cross outside of the box, where the ball came to Santi Jara. Jara one-timed it and beat Masip to the top left corner. A true golazo that the goalkeeper had no chance of stopping.

Sporting continued with good play and just ten seconds before the end of the opening 45 minutes they took the lead. Mate Bilić displayed excellent control in the box after receiving a cross from the right and slotted a shot just inside Masip's right post.

Immediately after the goal the referee whistled for halftime, and despite playing a solid first half Barcelona B not only blew the lead, but also found themselves trailing by a goal.

The second half brought no changes to either team, but Barcelona looked determined to turn the score around. The visiting side started the half with a lot of possession, but struggled to create any concrete chances.

In the 66th minute, after a chance by Barcelona B that went begging, Sporting launched a quick counter attack that saw Oscar Trejo send a good cross to the middle. There Gaston Sangoy beat his marker and created enough space to redirect the ball on goal and double the hosts' lead.

Barcelona immediately went on the attack, but Dongou's header wasn't powerful enough to beat the home keeper. Two minutes later Sporting went on another quick counter, but after some lovely passing on the edge of the Barça penalty box Sangoy missed the target. In the 72nd minute Eusebio sensed the time to go "all in" is now and replaced defensive midfielder Ilie with striker Araujo.

Three minutes later Barcelona's attacking play almost halved Sporting's lead. Alberto nicely found the onrushing Doulofeu on the left side. The winger made a quick stop to create enough space for the shot, but his curling right-footed attempt was rejected by the far post.

Immediately after that play Roman replaced Dongou. Barça B were very dangerous, but they continued to struggled to create good scoring chances. One of the best sequences of the game came just after the 80th minute when Alberto Lora should've been sent off, but only received a yellow card for a last-man tackle. Two minutes later, from a corner kick, after a poor clearance by the keeper, Roberto had an empty net to shoot at, but misfired and missed badly.

In the 83rd minute Eusebio completed his final substitution, replacing Roberto with Espinosa, and hoping the change would spark a comeback. But it didn't. Actually, on the very next play it was four to one, after another golazo. Trejo simply skipped past Lomban, made his was to the middle and fired an unstoppable shot to the far corner of Masip's goal.

But that wouldn't be the last goal Barça would allow in the game. David Rodriguez scored the fifth goal for the home side with a header after a good cross by Jara. Barcelona B would make the score a bit more respectful in the second minute of added time when Espinosa scored with a beautiful shot. Alberto added yet another assist to his name on the goal, showing good vision to find Espinosa open in the penalty area.

The end result was a bit harsh from a Barcelona B standpoint as they played much better than the score would suggest. However, something has to be done about this defense - this was the third consecutive game with three or more goals allowed. Lomban is simply a liability and neither Patric nor Balliu have impressed at right back. The club's best defender, Alejandro Grimaldo, is out with a long term injury so any quick improvements are unlikely...

Next up for Barcelona B is SD Huesca, the game will be played on Saturday at the Mini Estadi.

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