Barcelona B returned to action last Saturday looking to end an embarrassing run of bad results in the Third Division against 16th-place Linares Deportivo at the Johan Cruyff Stadium.
Barça’s first team had a very tough Copa del Rey tie against Linares in January, so this wasn’t going to be easy despite the away team’s place in the table. So it was a very pleasant surprise to see Sergi Barjuan’s team play so well from the opening whistle. It was a truly excellent performance, with quick, confident passing and attacking players going after the Linares defense all game long.
Ez Abde and Ferran Jutglà came back from the main squad to offer a much needed boost of energy and creativity to the Barça B attack, and the two were involved in everything good the young Blaugrana did throughout the game. And it was a brilliant run by Abde followed by a great finish by Jutglà that gave the home team the lead with 20 minutes to go.
It was tough to expect Barça to score a lot of goals in their current run of form, but their performance deserved more than just the one goal and as we reached the end of the game it seemed as though Barça could pay for not taking more chances. And in the dying seconds, they did: Ndiaye was called for a penalty inside the box, and Hugo Díaz scored to give Linares a totally undeserved point on the road.
The heartbreaking late goal by Linares now has Barça in 15th place, just one point above the relegation zone. The Blaugrana have inexplicably won just twice in the last three months, a run of results that continues to astonish when you consider the level of competition and the quality of this young team.
Barjuan’s job is closer and closer to be hanging by a thread, and the next game is a brutal test: third-place Albacete come to Johan Cruyff Stadium in excellent form and fighting for automatic promotion, so Barça’s chances in that one aren’t too great the way things are going right now.
But what if Sunday is a turning point? What if Barça find a way to get a result against one of the best teams in the division and use that as a platform to return to their best moments this season? Unfortunately, all that sounds like a pipe dream at this moment. When it rains, it pours, and this Barça B ship is starting to sink.