Sergi Barjuan and Barça B had a full fortnight to prepare for a crucial week of matches in the Third Division. The Mini Clásico against Real Madrid Casilla is this Saturday, and Barça had two tune-up games against relegation candidates to pick up some points, and get some much-needed confidence for a huge game this weekend.
The first challenge was against UCAM Murcia at the Johan Cruyff Stadium, and Barça started pretty well with a goal after five minutes and a 2-1 lead going into halftime. But the home team fell asleep in the second half and allowed Murcia to equalize in a very frustrating match that, like so many this season, Barça should have easily won but somehow didn’t.
— FC Barcelona B (@FCBarcelonaB) January 23, 2022
⚽ El resum de l'empat d'ahir contra l'UCAM Murcia (2-2) a l'Estadi Johan Cruyff
Revive los goles de Matheus e Ilias Akhomach en el empate de ayer ante el UCAM Murcia#ForçaBarça ❤ pic.twitter.com/U2sOh7ePPB
There was no time to rest and Barça had a chance to finally return to winning ways when they traveled to 19th-place Costa Brava. Barjuan’s team dominated possession but offered zero attacking threat, and somehow found themselves down 2-0 to the second-worst team in the division.
That was when Ferran Jutglà, who was back at Barça B with the first team not in action during the international break, showed that he’s too good for this level and scored twice in the second half, including a last-second equalizer to rescue a depressing point.
Thanks to the two bad draws against two bad teams, Barça have been overtaken by a mediocre Real Madrid in the standings ahead of their meeting at the Catalan capital. There is some serious debate starting to happen about Barjuan’s job status after several weeks of poor performances and even worse results, and you have to wonder what will happen if the Mini Clásico ends badly for Barça.
Meanwhile the transfer window remains open, and it’s not just the main squad that is going through changes right now: Barça B have made a new signing in 20-year-old defender Alpha Dionkou, who came through the Manchester City academy and spent the first half of the season on loan at Segunda B side San Fernando, one of Barça B’s rivals in the Third Division.
Dionkou will sign on a permanent transfer and provide some needed depth at right-back, with Guillem Jaime the only player in that position in the squad and one who is starting to get noticed by Xavi Hernández and the first team staff. As Dionkou arrives, one player could be on his way out as midfielder Kays Ruiz is reportedly on the transfer list.
Ruiz returned to Barça from PSG in the summer in a high-profile transfer and was given a generous contract by the club, but between Covid, injuries and some alleged attitude issues, the 19-year-old has struggled to earn his spot in the team and the club has until Monday to find a new home for Ruiz, who has made just five appearances for Barça B this season.