While in Barcelona, I decided to take in some lower league football. I didn’t do it the last time I was in Barcelona, simply because I didn’t know much about Spain’s lower league structure. Before this trip, I did some research, and decided to go to CE Europa, as they were in contention for promotion from Tercera Division.
Anyone with a basic grasp of Spanish would think I went to a third tier game, but it was in fact a 4th tier game. Spain’s divisional structure is : Primera Division (commonly known as La Liga), Segunda Division, Segunda Division B, Tercera Division.
The leagues are all regionalised and winning it doesn’t guarantee promotion – it’s just endless play-offs, but it is still worth winning your league going into these games.
I’d done a bit of research with regards to the location of the stadium, but even when I arrived there, it seemed a bit curious that I had to do a double take. The stadium just blended into the background, with children’s playpark and a gym meeting you when you arrive, with the stadium backing onto them.
The match took place on a Sunday lunchtime. CE Europa like to have a “Day of football” where underage teams, senior mens teams and womens team all playing on the same day. The pitch is synthetic, so can accommodate all these games. When I arrived at the ground, there was an underage game taking place.
The stadium itself has a main stand similar to the one at Seaview, and three smaller terraces, mainly due to the fact that there are apartments on those sides.
There wasn’t a programme culture in Spain, but CE Europa had a free newspaper available for fans. The club even handed out teamsheets. Refreshingly, both teams lined-up 1 to 11.
Within a minute, CE Europa had a penalty turned down, and a gentleman beside me screamed “PUTA!!!! HABRON!!!”. You’re probably advised not to translate that.
Europa had a lot of early pressure but no clear chances. Masnau also had their moments. I was secretly hoping they would score just to see if they had any fans in the ground. The game did look like being a 0-0 sort of game.
Towards the end of the first-half, a nice piece of skill in the box saw Europa get a penalty. After a delay waiting for it to be taken, it was missed.
There was a brief flurry from Europa immediately after that, with a header from the resulting corner going just wide.
The game had the same pattern in the second-half. Europa had a good chance saved, while Masnau had a half-chance fired just wide.
It looked like being a 0-0 sort of game, but a moment of quality saw a defence splitting pass fired home to give Europa a 1-0 lead. They were on top for the rest of the game and never looked like losing the lead, despite having a player sent-off in injury time.