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Segunda División: UD Almería 2-2 FC Barcelona B: Match Review

Barcelona B earned a hard fought point at the Juegos Mediterráneos stadium against Almería. In the action packed game Barça got a goal from Cristian Lobato and some help from Almería midfielder Verza who scored an own goal. Goalscorers for the home side were Jonathan Zongo and Charles.

Lobato was the only Barcelona B goalscorer.
Lobato was the only Barcelona B goalscorer.
Martin Rose

Starting XI: Jordi Masip; Ivan Balliu, David Lomban, Carles Planas, Alejandro Grimaldo; Gustavo Ledes, Luis Alberto, Cristian Lobato; Gerard Deulofeu, Sergio Araujo, Javier Espinosa

Bench: Miguel Bañuz, Patric, Sergi Gomez, Ilie Sanchez, Joan Angel Roman, Kiko Femenia, Jean Marie Dongou

The lineup fielded by Eusebio was pretty much as expected - with the happy inclusion of Espinosa - but the positioning of the players on the pitch was a surprise. Two wingers/forwards, Lobato and Alberto, started the game in midfield while natural midfielder Espinosa started on the wing.

Almeria came storming out of the gate, but Barcelona's defense was prepared for the early onslaught and made several good clearances. Masip was first tested in the 7th minute when he made a good save on a header from a corner kick.

Barca's first opportunity came in the 9th minute when Deulofeu tried an outrageous lob from a bad angle that went just wide of the post. Quickly Almeria created two more chances, but again the B team defense held its ground.

Immediately after, Deulofeu was sent through all alone after a brilliant pass from Alberto, but after rounding the keeper the winger couldn't direct the shot on goal. But two minutes later, in the 13th minute, Lobato found the back of the net with a shot from 16 yards. He made a great play to win himself enough place to take the shot and finished the chance off with an accurate shot.

On the very next play it could've been 2-0, but Deulofeu's shot was well saved by the keeper. The frantic start to the game slowed down after that, as we had to wait 12 minutes for the next scoring opportunity.

Barça's defense, after a bad initial clearance, blocked Aleix Vidal's dangerous shot for a corner kick. And from it Almeria had their best chance to score so far in the game. Masip misread the initial cross and after it was headed back into the danger area, he was left stranded and Fernando Soriano had a wide open net to aim at. But the midfielder's header was blocked on the line by Lomban to keep the hosts scoreless. Almería soon had another chance to score, but again Vidal's attempt was blocked.

But Almeria would finally score in the 31st minute. Christian Fernández sent a brilliant cross from the left side and found the wide open Jonathan Zongo in the middle, who first time volley into the net. A minute later Lomban saved another certain goal with a last second clearance before Zongo would've tipped the ball into the empty net.

After surviving some more minutes of Almería's pressure, Barcelona finally again managed to create a chance. After some lovely link-up by Araujo, Espinosa and Deulofeu, the latter got a shot off, but again it was saved by Esteban Suarez.

Two minutes before the halftime whistle Soriano had another opportunity to find the net, but his attempt was stopped by the post. Then Deulofeu showed some nifty moves to beat the defender, however, his shot was once again saved.

Neither team would create anything else in the remainder of the opening 45 minutes, which brought the exciting half to an one-all end. Deulofeu was the most active Barcelona player and had his first touch and finishing not let him down, he could've finished the half with at least a hat-trick.

After the restart it took Almería only four minutes to create their first clear scoring chance, but Zongo saw his shot tipped away by Masip. The rebound went through the legs of Charles who couldn't pull the trigger and finish off into the wide open net. However, Charles redeemed himself three minutes later when he powered the ball in after Masip couldn't control Christian's low cross.

Almería continued with good pressure even after they took the lead and Charles continued to be in the middle of every Almería play. In the 54th minute he set up Soriano, who once again saw his shot be saved by Masip.

Eusebio then made the first substitution of the match, replacing Deulofeu with Kiko.

Barcelona slowly started to turn the flow of the game and they received some help from Almería defender Marcelo Silva who picked up his second yellow card in the 64th minute. Being down to 10 men Almería focused on defensive duties (and counterattacks) in what at times resembled a 5-2-2 formation.

In the 73rd minute Barcelona B completed their second substitution, replacing Balliu with Roman. As a result of the sub Kiko moved from the wing to the right back position. But even with the man advantage Barcelona struggled to create chances.

In an effort to overload the hosts' defensive line even more Eusebio brought on Dongou for Lomban. The move gave Barcelona more options in attack and in the 82nd minute it appeared the game would be tied again. However, Roman's shot from the right side hit the far post and went out of play.

In the 88th minute Araujo unleashed a great shot from the edge of the area that was kept out with an even better save by Esteban. But the equalizer finally came in the next minute. Roman sent a good cross into the box from the left side where Lobato was waiting to direct it on goal. But Verza was there to disrupt the play, but unluckily for him instead of clearing the ball he fired it into his own net.

Almería tried to respond immediately, but Chumbi, after great work to free himself from the marker, missed the far post by merely inches.

Neither team managed to break the deadlock in the three minutes of added time, bringing the game to a two-all end. The hard earned point brought Barcelona B back into fifth place on the Segunda table. The next test for the youngsters will be on Sunday against Real Madrid Castilla in the "Mini Clasico" at the Mini Estadi.

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