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After a wait of 8 months and 245 days, the U19A team will be back in league action this Sunday against Europa at 5.00pm CET. Because of Covid-19, it’s their first game since beating Damm 4-1 back in March.
The league was suspended but Barça were proclaimed champions, and didn’t start training again until August. They have played no fewer than eight friendlies, some against teams of a much higher category than normal, but didn’t lose a single one.
New restrictions mean friendlies were put on hold again on October 14, and last week’s league opener against Mallorca was suspended after one of the players tested positive for coronavirus.
Coach Franc Artiga says: “we were really looking forward to the start. Competitive matches are the ones that really count and where you really learn. Winning and losing need to really mean something.”
“Covid-19 has shown us that we have to live for the moment, and we mean to make the most of every moment of this league. Europa has had one of the best defensive records in recent years, so we are going to have to make sure we take our chances tomorrow when they come. I hope this first game is kind to us and gives us the motivation we need for future games.”
The team’s fourth captain, Jaume Jardí, adds that “it’s been a long wait so are really looking forward to this. We have a lot of young players and the older ones among us have to use our experience to get them settled on the pitch.”
Captain José Marsà will play a big part in doing that. “As captain I know I have a responsibility for the team” he says. “And it’s not just wearing the armband on the pitch, but off it as well. I don’t remember an U19A team as young as this one, but they are all players that have been at the club for a very long time. And they are very talented players and we don’t want this situation to affect them, because this is such an important year on the road towards professionalism.”
This season the league will be following a different format to the usual one. Because of Covid-19, there will be two phases: a regular season, followed by either the Champions Cup for the highest ranked teams or a battle against relegation for the remainder..
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