Five days after securing qualification for the Final Four, Barça Alusport returned to the domestic competition against a tough Puertollano side. It wasn’t an easy transition make, but Barça were capable of grinding out a victory. Puertollano, with a two all draw at the half, once again proved why they are considered one of the dark horse teams in the League. Two goals from Ari in the second half allowed a very practical Barça side to take the win and further consolidate their lead over second place El Pozo, who drew at home.
Lozano breaks the game in a crazy minute
Just like in his last appearance at the Palau Blaugrana with Azkar Lugo, the visiting side’s keeper was a difficult obstacle to overcome. Barça had the initiative, moving the ball around quickly, but time and time again Barça’s attack would crash into a steady Puertollano defensive wall. It wasn’t until the 13th minute that Sergio Lozano broke the deadlock with a superb strike. 17 second later, Barça’s number ‘9’ led an Azulgrana counterattack and fed the ball to Wilde, who quickly made it 2-0. Puertollano, seconds later, climbed back into the game when they scored on Paco Sedano.
Unexpected 2-2 at the half
The absent injured players Igor and Fernandao forced Marc Carmona to play long periods of time without a real pivot. Wilde was Barça’s reference point in attack, but the home team was a bit inaccurate in front of the visitor's goal. Puertollano contained the maximum goalscorer well and they were dangerous on the counter. Two shots to the posts preceded the tying goal, from a double penalty, just before the break.
Barça Alusport quickly got back in front just after the break. 29 seconds in, Ari Santos scored Barça’s third in a well executed strategic play. Puertollano came right back at the home side and almost equalised three times, the second of which hit the post (min 25). With the scoreline dangerously close, Carmona’s men were determined to put more distance between themselves and Puentellano. It was Ari, once again, who scored the definitive 4-2, thanks to a counterattack led by Wilde.
With time running out, Puentellano desperately looked to equalise in the final five minutes by playing a keeper-player. Barça, however, closed ranks and defended well. Both teams fought hard to win the game from beginning to end, but the tremendously valuable three points will be staying at the Palau Blaugrana.