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Barça B take on their second playoff game in their quest for promotion to the second tier of Spanish football, playing Badajoz on Thursday night. The match follows their win over Valladolid Promesas (3-2) this past weekend.
Their opponents eliminated Athletic Club ‘B’ in a penalty shootout to reach this stage, having played with 10 men from the 65th minute.
"Badajoz will be a very tough side. They are competitive and very aggressive, and are really good on the counter. It's going to be a difficult game," said Barça B coach García Pimienta. "We are Barça and we always have the highest aspirations, although we are aware that it will be a very difficult game because we are up against a powerful team."
Ronald Araujo reinforces the squad
Garcia Pimienta will have Ronald Araujo available, and he has travelled to Marbella after participating regularly in first team squads as of late. He is Barça B's fourth captain, and highly praised by his coach.
"Ronald is 21 years old, but he seems like an expert. He is an example for all of his teammates in his day-to-day work and the things he does in matches. It's not just how he defends, but also how he attacks and everything that he provides on the field of play."
“He wanted to come here and be with the group. He wanted to help, and I can only thank him and hope he can play in both games. It will be very good for him as he aims to play in the Champions League for the first team afterwards."
Araujo said that "The team are doing very well. There is a spectacular group of coaches and players, and there is the ambition to win the game and complete the objective that we set at the start of the season. "I am 100% committed and am going to offer my best football to help the team, which is the most important thing."
The squad are without the injured Álex Collado, Sarsanedas, Hiroki Abe, Labinot and Rosanas, as well as missing Riqui Puig and Ansu Fati due to their involvement in the first team setup. Rejoining the group is Arnau Tenas. Some 22 players have been named in the squad: 13 from Barça B and 9 from the Under-19s A team.
Badajoz are coached by former player Pedro Munitis, and got into the playoffs with third place in Grupo IV. They are in the playoffs for the second year in a row, and are a defensively solid side who have conceded just 22 goals this term (0.9 per game). They eliminated Athletic Club B in the previous round, and knocked Las Palmas and Eibar out of the Copa del Rey earlier this term.
Three other ties are being played this Thursday: Cultural Leonesa v Sabadell, Castellón v Peña Deportiva, and Atlético Baleares v Cornellá. The four winners will be entered into a draw for the final round, which will be made on Friday at 1pm CEST.
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