In a largely boring game in front of a good crowd at the Mini Estadi Barcelona B today won their second consecutive game, against the recently demoted Real Zaragoza, thanks to a second half goal by Dani Nieto. It was the second goal the former Alcorcon man has scored since putting on the Barcelona B shirt.
Starting XI: Jordi Masip; Patric, Sergi Gómez, Frank Bagnack, Carles Planas; Ilie Sanchez, Pol Calvet, Javier Espinosa, Joan Angel Román, Dani Nieto, Jean Marie Dongou.
Bench: Adrian Ortola, Joan Campins, David Babunski, Sergi Samper, Denis Suarez, Antonio Sanabria, Sandro Ramirez
Eusebio made only one substitution from last week's win over CD Lugo, and he was forced to make that one, because Edu Bedia picked up an injury that will keep him out for about two weeks. (In fact Eusebio (probably) wouldn't have made a single starting lineup change so far this season had injuries not forced him to do so as well with Edgar Ie). Edu was replaced by Calvet who made his first start for the B team.
Fans only had to wait five minutes for the first shot of the game. Espinosa fired a powerful shot from the edge of the box, but it was straight at the keeper. However, other than that shot there was very little action in the opening 20 minutes to talk about. Zaragoza did have a couple half-chances, but the B team defense, most notably Bagnack, prevented any real danger.
But the momentum was definitely shifting Zaragoza's way and the visitors came within inches of taking the lead in the 23rd minute. Bagnack committed a foul on the edge of the area, and the subsequent free-kick just barely missed Masip's far post.
Five minutes later Masip showed why he's currently considered the best goalkeeper in the B team. First he made a strong save on Roger that went out for a corner kick. On the ensuing corner the defense completely forgot about their assignments as three Zaragoza players were left wide open. Jose Mari managed to fire a powerful header toward the bottom corner of the goal, but Masip somehow, fully outstretched was able to tip the ball out for another corner kick. This one, however, didn't lead to any more chances.
With Barcelona B struggling to pass accurately the entire half Zaragoza started with an even higher pressure. Barça struggled to cope with it and Masip was on a couple occasions forced to heave the ball out of danger because none of his teammates were open for a pass.
Before the halftime whistle Zaragoza would have one last chance to score the game's opener. Roger failed to tip the ball on goal so the two sides went into the dressing rooms with a scoreless tie.
Immediately after the restart Zaragoza again began threatening to score, but their opportunity went begging. But the best chance of the game so far came in the 50th minute on the other side of the pitch. Dongou won a free kick 30-yards out that was sent into the penalty area by Espinosa. There Planas attempted a brilliant bicycle kick that Leo Franco just tipped over that crossbar. The very next minute Nieto sent a good low cross in front of the goal, but Dongou couldn't steer it into the net.
The action quieted down once again after that mini onslaught by Barcelona B and the next noteworthy happening on the pitch came in the 63rd minute when the home side made their first substitution. Babunski came on the pitch to replace Calvet, and in the very next minute the Macedonian should've put Barça in front. Roman brilliantly found Babunski all alone on the right side of the box, but the substitute's low shot whistled past Franco's right post.
Barça B were able to continue with the pressure and they were finally rewarded for their good second half play in the 73rd minute. Roman made a nice run from the left side to the middle where he beautifully passed the ball to Nieto who first-timed it to the far post for the opening goal of the game.
Three minutes after taking the lead the hosts completed their second substitution as Sandro took the place of Dongou. The Cameroonian didn't really impress in this game, but it has to be said that he was cut of from play for most of his time on the pitch. In the 83rd minute the final Barcelona B substitution was made, Samper replaced Ilie at the defensive midfielder position. That substitute meant that Cules will have to wait at least one more week to see the debut of Denis Suarez.
Quickly after the substitution Barça had a chance to score a goal that surely would've decided the game in the hosts' favor. Roman made another good run from the left side, but his 16-yard shot was well saved by Franco. The rebound, however, fell straight to Planas who in true defender fashion booted it high and wide of the goal. Roman would have another shot on goal four minutes later, but that attempt was also saved.
Desperately in need of a goal Zaragoza went on a final push that included a couple scoring opportunities, but Barça B were able to hold on to the lead. Three games into the season Barcelona B have now collected six points, and have so far won both of their home games. The youngsters will now look to collect their first point(s) away from the Mini Estadi on Sunday when they travel to the Canary Islands to take on Tenerife.