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With two games still to go, Barça B have been confirmed as Division 2B Group III champions following a 2-0 victory over Prat on Saturday thanks to goals from Cardona and Perea.
And winning the group is not just a ‘symbolic’ honour for the reserves. It means a double chance to snap up one of the four berths on offer in next season’s second division. The end-of-season promotion playoffs are a complex matter to get your head around, but hopefully our explanation below will help to clear up the confusion!
Goals in each half
As for the game, things couldn’t have got off to a better start at the Miniestadi, with Cardona adding the killer finish to a deft assist from Palencia after just three minutes to put Barça B a goal up.
The reserves continued to dominate for the rest of the first 45 minutes, but they failed to turn that superiority into any further goals before the half was up.
Gumbau could have doubled that lead after 55 minutes, but saw his penalty saved. There wasn’t much time before the frustration became celebrations, for in the very next move Perea slammed a tremendous strike bounding into the net off the crossbar.
Both sides were reduced to ten men in the wake of the same incident involving Fali of FCB and Pluvins for the visitors. Prat, who themselves are fighting a tough battle against relegation to the third division, had nothing to lose and threw everything forward as the game moved into crazy mode.
But there was no further score, and the 1,679 fans in the Miniestadi can now start making plans for the promotion playoffs – although before that there are a couple of regular season fixtures to see out at Espanyol B and at home to Ebro.
The playoffs explained
Division 2B, the third tier of Spanish football, actually consists of four separate regional groups of twenty teams each, and winning Group III does not guarantee Barça B a place in Division 2 proper next season, although it does bring certain benefits.
Barça B will now go into the ‘Group Champions Playoffs’ along with the other three group winners (which as things stand at the moment at Racing Santander, Albacete and Lorca FC, although none of those three have clinched their places definitively yet). The Catalans will play one of those sides home and away, and if they win they’ll gain promotion and also get a chance to play the other winning side for the honour of Division 2B champions.
Failing that, Barça B would still have a second chance to qualify. They would go into the second round of ‘Non-Champions Promotion Playoffs’ along with the teams that finished second to fourth in each of the four groups, where they would need to negotiate two home and away rounds in order to claim one of the two remaining berths in Division 2 for the 2017/18 season. Got that? It's simple!
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