FC Barcelona won last night at the Reyno de Navarra stadium against a pugnacious Osasuna who could have stolen the show and grabbed 3 deserved points from the Catalan giants. Two goals from Messi in the second half secured victory for the Blaugranas and there were a few tense moments after the possible off-side from Alexis that led to Messi’s first goal.
Osasuna forgave Barca on numerous occasions and new boss Tito Vilanova was sent off for protesting.
Domination by Osasuna
Iniesta maintained the balance of play in the first half but Osasuna dominated and had the clearer chances. Barca suffered but ended going 2 goals up courtesy of their best player, Messi. It is always the same, the small clubs forgive and big clubs end up finishing off. And this time Mendilibar’s team were the losers at the Reyno de navarra stadium.
The game appeared to be an uphill struggle for Tito Vilanova. Cejudo was the first to shock Victor Valdes, who responded well all throughout the game in a week in which he has been widely criticized for his “faux pas” last week against Real Madrid in the Spanish Super Cup. Valdes had to intervene several times in the first half, but could not stop Llorente’s header which found the net from a lovely cross from the left hand side.
This goal undoubtedly gave a breath of fresh air to the home side and had the Catalans on the run especially since they were no match for Mendilibar’s side in the first half of play.
Iniesta and Tello went into attack mode for the Blaugrana’s moving around with great ease and mobility, trying to get near the goal of Andres Fernandez. But the goalkeeper was sublime and kept a clean sheet throughout the first half of the match.
Second half controversy
The second half provided a real show of football by both teams. The two keepers did their jobs and the goal posts helped out, too Ask Osasuna’s Nino, who had the opportunity to finish the game when he only had Valdes to beat.
That’s when the nerves appeared and eventually got Tito Vilanova sent off for protesting. The Barca coach protested a bit too much to ref Muñiz Fernández and was shown the red card. And with Tito removed from the dug-out, Messi broke loose.
In all, five minutes were needed for two goals and three points. The Argentine rescued his team in two moves. The first move was highly controversial with the possible offside of Alexis Sanchez and the consequent expulsion of puñal for insulting.
The second goal came with a helping hand from Barca new boy Jordi Alba.
That was it, there was no time for more, except to feel sorry for Osasuna for forgiving Barca so many times. All Barca can do now is look at the rest of La Liga from the top position and think about Wednesday’s second leg match against Real Madrid in the Spanish Super Cup.