Barcelona B is back and it's back with an even shakier defense but with a whole lot of firepower up front. Even though the youngsters lost this goal-fest by 4-5 this was one fantastic game to watch with chances coming from all sides.
I think it's well known by now that people that watch Barça B on a regular basis, including me, don't agree with most of the things coach Eusebio Sacristán does and he made some "interesting" decisions again. Just looking at the lineup you wouldn't think anything was wrong but when you saw his players line up on the pitch you would start scratching your head.
The stating XI was: Oier Olazábal; Iván Balliu, Sergi Gómez, David Lombán, Carles Planas; Ilie Sánchez, Rafinha, Javier Espinosa;Gerard Deulofeu, Jean Marie Dongou, Cristian Lobato
All things considering this was one of the best lineups Eusebio's has ever fielded but for some inexplicable reason he had winger/full-back Lobato playing in the midfield and had one of teams best midfielders, Espinosa, playing on the wing. New additions to the team Agostinho Cá, Sergio Araujo and Joan Ángel Román all started on the bench along with Jordi Masip, Alejandro Grimaldo, Patric and Luis Gustavo
Barcelona B raced into the lead just five minutes from kickoff. Espinosa played a brilliant through ball to the onrushing Balliu who squared the ball to Dongou for the 17-year old's first Dongol of the season. Seven minutes later Deulofeu doubled Barça's lead after the young forward was played through by Goméz's 50-yard pass. Deulofeu rounded the keeper with ease to make it 2-0.
One would think at that point that Barcelona B will be able to see of the challenge from this former Primera División team. But there was a reason why Almería almost won a spot in the promotion play-off last season. They replied almost instantly with Fernando Soriano taking advantage of some bad defending by Planas and Lombán.
Barça B continued to attack, though, but Espinosa was denied by the post. That would come to hurt the hosts because soon after Charles tied the game at two
Then things went from bad to worse for Eusebio and his team as Planas inexplicably picked up his second yellow card for a deliberate handball in a situation there was really no need to do so. This however did give Grimaldo a chance for his season debut but for some reason Eusebio took Dongou off the pitch to make the substitution, instead of Lobato who was having a poor game.
After some more horrible defending (and goalkeeping) Barça B found themselves behind for the first time in the game courtesy of Soriano's second goal of the night but a moment of sheer brilliance by Deulofeu leveled the score once again. From a long free kick, from the left wing, Deulofeu surprised the keeper with a shot directly on goal and just like that it was three-all.
In an attempt to make complete the comeback Eusebio subbed off one of the brightest performers off the night, Espinosa, and replaced him with newcomer Araujo. Grimaldo also got involved in the attacking game but the Almería goalkeeper did well to close the angle and made a good save on the young left-back.
But considering Barcelona's defense was shaky (at best) when they were playing with eleven it was difficult to expect Oier and company would be able to hold the visitors to "just" three goals. Ten minutes before the final whistle my suspicions came true when Lombán lost his marker and left José Ulloa all the space in the world and the striker didn't make any mistake. Just five minutes later Almería, specifically Christian Fernández, won another free header and the visitors now had a two goal lead.
A minute later Deulofeu gave the home fans a glimmer of hope when he completed the hat-trick, his first for the B team. He scored the goal directly from the corner kick. The goal had elements of a "phantom goal" because the keeper manage to clear the ball but replays failed to show a clear picture that would determine if the entire ball crossed the line.
But four goals was all Barça B would manage and they were saddled with their first loss of the season. Even a breathtaking performance by wunderkind Deulofeu and solid displays from Espinosa and Rafinha weren't enough to compensate for the horrible defending but there will be some growing pains in that department this season with four regulars departing from the team (Martin Montoya, Marc Bartra, Marc Muniesa and Armando Lozano).
Oh, and in the case you were keeping track of the substitutions while reading this there were indeed all three made by Eusebio. But Lobato survived the third one as well with Ilie being the man subbed off for Gustavo.
Note: Almeŕia's second goal is missing from the highlights
Barcelona B 4 - 5 Almeria All Goals And Highlights 17.08.12 HD Deulofeu Hatrik (via MuzicaProduction)