As it is the international break for the rest of the world, it remains business as usual for Barcelona B. Despite having limited available squad members, the young Catalans showed no weakness as they cruised passed Ontinyent CF in an impressive 3-0 victory; also ending the night with a well-deserved pizza bus party.
With four players on international duty (Abel Ruiz and Miranda representing Spain, Ballou for Canada and Carevic for Montenegro), one player injured and two ineligible to play, Garcia Pimienta completed his matchday squad list with two players brought in from Juvenil A, Nils Mortimer and Konrad de la Fuente who remained on the bench the entire match.
Five interesting changes were made to the starting XI. With the lack of defenders, the players were forced to prove their versatility. As many have said before, everyone in Barça can play in any position. Mingueza moved into left-back for the second time this season, Guillem occupied right-back, much like he did in Juvenil A, and Collado, a natural number ten and playmaker, was tested as a left winger. Other changes included Sarsenedas returning and reclaiming his captain’s armband, as well as McGuane making his first start in the campaign.
Chances were flying during the first half for both sides. Barça B capitalised first and early on when Rafa Mujica claimed his goal for the match, and fourth for the season, with Collado collecting the assist. The left wing suited Collado as he had a number of attempts at goal before the end of the half, along with Aleña and Mujica getting their fair share at testing the Ontinyent goalkeeper.
In the second half, there were a few shifts in the camp when Mingueza was replaced by Busquets, which saw Sarsanedas take his turn at left-back. It’s safe to say that the youngsters have been more successful in solving their defensive worries than the first team.
The closing half came as a challenge fully accepted by Iñaki Peña. The shot-stopper pulled out a number of magnificent saves and quick thinking decisions, to protect his one-match overdue clean sheet. Adding to player recognition, all calculations prove that Aleña is more than ready for first-team action. The 20-year-old completed a brace; the first goal coming from a penalty after Collado was fouled in the box and one beautifully struck volley in the closing minutes of the match. If there is one player that has proven his talent, experience and maturity for first team football, it’s him.
Turning the direction towards internationals, Abel Ruiz has been back in goalscoring form. The forward scored two goals in two games for Spain U19 EURO qualifiers. This means that since his debut for the national team in 2015, he has now scored 38 goals in 47 games to date, also registering five assists to his name. A stand-out as usual. Hopefully, he can bring this back when playing in Blaugrana.
This has been Barça B’s third consecutive away victory this season, with four wins, two draws and two losses, the team have collected 14 points out of a possible 18. This sees the team occupy third place in the table at the end of matchday eight. The next fixture is another tough one at Mini Estadi against a high-flying first place Villarreal B. If the squad keep this run up, promotion back into Segunda is imminent.