Looking to build on their impressive victory against Huesca Barcelona B came against a big challenge - last season's Copa del Rey Cinderella story, CD Mirandes. Mirandes, however, have been struggling this season but against Barça B they have played a very good game and won in convincing fashion. Two goals from Iñigo Díaz de Cerio and one from Mikel Iribas earned the hosts the 3-0 win.
Eusebio went back to his highly effective tactic of inexplicably naming an inferior starting XI with several key players left on the bench and one of the club's most promising prospects, Alejandro Grimaldo, not even in the 18-man squad. I feel that too much virtual ink has already been used trying to explain Eusebio's decisions so I'm not even going to try to find a reason behind these choices.
Starting XI: Oier Olazabal; Patric, Sergi Gómez, David Lombán, Cristian Lobato, Ilie Sanchez, Sergi Roberto, Rafinha; Joan Angel Román, Sergio Araujo, Gerard Deulofeu.
Bench: Jordi Masip, Ivan Balliu, Edgar Ié, Agostinho Cá, Javier Espinosa, Luis Alberto, Jean Marie Dongou.
Barcelona B started the game in absolutely dominating fashion, even controlling the ball at a 92% rate at some point. However, it was quickly noticeable that the team didn't have its usual flow - some of it was due to the unfamiliarity of the three forward, but the heavy rain also had a big influence on the game, especially early in the game.
With the conditions making it difficult for Barcelona B to create chances Mirandes were happy to allow the youngsters to controll the ball for large portions of the game. However, as soon as the hosts won the ball back they were immediately on the counter, more often than not they simply tried to beat the defense with long balls, but the usually shaky defense held its ground - for a while at least. Lomban and Patric both made good plays on such counters, but those were about the only highlights of the Barça B defense.
Pretty much the only noteworthy chances in the first half for Barcelona came from set pieces and the first such chance came in the 26th minute when Lomban sent a header on goal, but Iñaki Goitia made a good save.
Five minutes later Mirandes launched another counter attack with Antxon Muneta winning a lot of space down the left side. Muneta then sent a good cross into the danger area where Iribas had the time and space to pick his spot and beat Oier to the far side. It was a typical Barça B defensive breakdown as Lobato, who should have been covering Iribas got tangled with Alain Arroyo and fell fown while Lomban was slow to make the adjustment and arrived too late to block the Mirandes player's shot.
The goal took some life from the Catalans and Mirandes were able to be the more dangerous side for the following minutes, but they weren't able to add to the lead. Barça B meanwhile only had two chances from direct free kicks, but both Deulofeu and Roman fired their attempts over the crossbar.
At halftime Eusebio made a good substitution as he brought on Luis Alberto, who has been absolutely brilliant for Barcelona B recently, for the ineffectual Araujo who put in another poor performance.
Barca immediately looked more cohesive in attack and threatened early, but Rafinha's shot was blocked after the midfielder made a brilliant run to win himself some space to take the shot. Soon after that chance Deulofeu received a great through pass, but the keeper made a brilliant play to rush out and control the ball just before the young winger could get to it.
In the 53rd minute Eusebio made another logical substitution as he brought on Dongou for Roman. Roman had a decent game, but his talents were misused on the left wing where Eusebio had him playing. Barcelona now finally had their best attacking trio of Alberto, Dongou and Deulofeu on the pitch. But it was all too little too late.
Three minutes later another case of horrible defending from the B team led to another goal. A corner kick from the right side went to the near post where it was flicked on to the unmarked de Cerio on the far post who had an easy job to make it 2-0. The goal couldn't have come at a worse time as it appeared that the B team was finally retaking control of the game.
Deulofeu then tried to take things into his own hands/feet as he tried to dribble past the entire Mirandes defense, and he almost made in through in the 62nd minute. He made it past four defenders only to be pushed of the ball by the last man. There was a penalty appeal, but it would've been very harsh had it been given.
Espinosa also made his way on to the pitch when he replaced Roberto 25 minutes before the final whistle. But that substitution would have absolutely no effect on the game as just seconds after the talented midfielder came on Mirandes would score their third goal of the game. Another long ball caught the defense unprepared (especially Lomban who could've easily cleared the ball) and de Cerio was through all alone. Despite his best efforts Oier couldn't prevent the striker from scoring his second goal of the game.
That goal was the final nail in Barcelona's coffin and even though there was still a lot of time left it was clear that there will be no comeback today. There were a couple promising individual efforts but Mirandes, who committed almost fully to defending, were able to keep the B team scoreless.
It was Mirandes' first win at home of the season, and only their second overall.
This was without a doubt one of the worst Barca B performances since Eusebio took over especially on the defensive side of the ball - and there have been more than a few bad ones. The youngsters will have a chance to fix this impression on Saturday when they will host CD Numancia.