The joy is always greater when you strive bravely to achieve a goal. This is precisely what happened to Barça B, who had to work hard to beat Badajoz. Despite dominating the game and having control of the ball for the most part, the solidity of the opponent made things difficult. Barça B had many chances, but Kike Royo was unbeatable in the first half, with his heroics providing a platform for Guzmán Casaseca to open the scoring against the run of play (0-1, min 39).
Badajoz stuck to their task in the second half but Barça B didn’t give up. Akieme hit the post (min 57), before continued pressure saw a header by Manaj finally drawing the blaugranes level (1-1, min 82).
Extra time and Penalties
The scores remained the same throughout extra time despite some more chances for both teams, so penalties would decide the tie. Akieme, Araujo, Cuenca, Manaj and Monchu converted Barça’s five, while Iñaki Peña stopped Cesar Morgado’s, sending Barça to the final.
García Pimienta set a 433 formation, Iñaki Peña as the goalkeeper, Morer, Cuenca, Araújo and Akieme as the defenders, Monchu, Ilaix and Jandro as the midfielders and Konrad, Matheus as well as Manaj as the forwards. Compared to the match against Valladolid Promesas, there are only one change, Araújo replaced Mingueza. Compared to the last match, more direct attack was seen and a lot of the attacks are based on two sides.
Konrad made an extraordinary performance in the first 20 minutes, and helped Barça B get control of the match. Despite a high procession and several big chances, Barça B didn’t make a goal. Instead, Badajoz seize the chance of a counterattack and took the lead.
At the second half, Barça B still kept a high procession, but they failed to threat the goal of Badajoz, and it seemed clear that they’ve been getting exhausted. Just before the last minute, García Pimienta changed the formation to 352, by substituting Ilaix for Mingueza and Periera for Reis. Barça B was quite lucky that they quickly hit the equalizer and took the match to extra time. The change in formation wasn’t the reason that Barça B scored in the min 82, but it did help the team a lot in the extra time, under the condition that the team was out of energy and almost gave up the offense.
Matheus Periera didn’t perform better than he did last Sunday, but Rey Manaj played a good match. An obvious change was that he tried to come deep to get the ball, instead of locking himself in the box. The two side backs played the key role again, and both the three centre backs showed great sensation.
Barça B will face Sabadell at the Estadio Municipal Antonio Lorenzo Cuevas. The Kick-off time will be 8 pm on Sunday. What is also to be mention is that all the four finalists all hail from Grupo III of the Segunda División B. Showing the strength of a group formed by Catalan, Valencian and Aragonese teams. Among all the four teams, Sabadell ranked the third in the league before the pandemic cause the suspension.
This Barça B side is the youngest in history, and are pursuing a seventh promotion to the Segunda División. They have faced Sabadell on 51 occasions since 1974, with the most recent meeting coming this season with a 1-0 win in the league. Of the 14 Barça B players who participated in that league encounter, only 8 are available for the final: Iñaki Peña, Morer, Araujo, Akieme, Monchu, Jandro, Mingueza and Jorge Cuenca.
Barça B has managed the promotion to Segunda A for six times in the history, respectively coached by Lluís Aloy (1973/74), Antoni Torres (1981/82), Quique Costas (1991/92), Josep Maria Gonzalvo (1997/98), Luis Enrique (2009/10) and Gerard López (2016/17). This year will be the 50th Anniversary of Barça B, and the team will make all efforts to take advantage of the chance hit the promotion.
Barça B, 1 (5)
CD Badajoz, 1 (3)
Barça B: Iñaki Peña, Morer, Cuenca, Monchu, Araújo, Jandro (Mingueza, min 81), Akieme, Matheus (Reis, min 68), R. Manaj, Konrad (Gerard, min 65) and Ilaix Moriba (Nils, min 68).
Badajoz: Kike Royo, Toni Abad (Fobi, min 105), Candelas (Kike Pina, min 119), César Morgado, Sergi Maestre, Guzmán Casaseca (David Concha, min 68), Caballero (Ramos, min 60), Aquino (Santamaría, min 60), Álex Corredera, Pablo Vázquez and Adilson (Isma Cerro, min 119).
Goals: 0-1, Guzmán Casaseca (min 39). 1-1, Manaj (min 82). Penalties. 1-0, Akieme. 2-0, Araujo. 2-1, Isma Cerro. 3-1, Cuenca. 3-2, Concha. 4-2, Rei Manaj. 4-3, Corredera. 5-3, Monchu.
Fouls: Yellow cards for Reis, Araujo and Mingueza.