La Liga

Barcelona 1-0 Osasuna: Alba’s strike ensures comfortable victory as Barca inch closer to title

Barcelona defeated Osasuna resoundingly in Camp Nou last night, thanks to a wonderous strike from left-back Jordi Alba, which has led to a firm grip over the title for Xavi’s men as Real Madrid dropped points against Real Sociedad last night.

With this win, Barca goes 14 points clear at the top, thus consolidating their position with 82 points. Meanwhile, their fellow title contenders and defending champions Real are left reeling at 68 points.

With sheer domination from the starting whistle, Barca was bound to win the game but Osasuna had kept it tight in spite of going down to 10 men before half-time.

Same winning line-up to bolster champion mentality

Barcelona defeated Real Betis on Sunday, with a thumping victory by a margin of 4 goals over the Andalusians. With the same line-up of 4-3-3, Xavi had fielded in confidence of gaining an outright victory over Osasuna.

Return of the “B-A-C-K” was assured in the last victory, and they were at their absolute best last night too. The midfield had boasted of the seasoned skipper Busquets, accompanied by the formidable duo of Frenkie and Pedri. Lewandowski, although, was tamed by Osasuna’s defense, but his prolific wing partners Raphinha and Gavi kept on creating chances for the Blaugranes.

Osasuna went with Chimy Avila up front, with the only person trying to penetrate past the indomitable Barca backline, but it was hard luck as they had barely any shots on target. Barca had shown their sheer dominance with their hold-up play, with possession of 77 percent compared to 23 of the visitors. The Culers had kept firing their shots throughout the game, but it was in the 85th minute when seasoned veteran Alba scored the winner with a sumptuous assist from Frenkie de Jong.

Chances created, chances missed

Barcelona had been on the top since the starting whistle, as they had their normal counter-attacking playstyle on display. But they were getting unlucky every time the ball went to the opponent’s penalty area.

In the 25th minute, Pedri missed a sitter as Balde had assisted him with the ludicrous ball, but his shot went afar. Similarly, in the 28th minute, Raphinha’s free-kick went just over the bar as Osasuna goalie Aitor watched it sail over the goal.

Xavi put on the field his wonderkid Ansu Fati in the 36th minute after prodigal Gavi was seen in discomfort. Osasuna was down to 10 men after 22-year-old debutante Jorge Herrando was shown a straight red card for a direct foul over Pedri as the Spaniard was trying to make a way in to the Osasuna penalty area. As a result, Raphinha took the free-kick.

Ter Stegen- the great wall of Barcelona

German international Marc Andre Ter Stegen has been indomitable under the goal this season. In the last game against Betis, he surpassed former Barca legend Claudio Bravo to take his tally to 24 clean sheets in a single season, making him the new record holder.

Last night, he kept on thwarting attacks from the opposition as Osasuna barely tested the Barca guard, and eventually, he went on to become the first player to secure 25 clean sheets in 33 league games, creating an unexplainable milestone.

Barcelona’s superb defensive season should be credited to him and the formidable backline of “B-A-C-K”, comprising Balde, Araujo, Christensen and Kounde, as they keep on creating and breaking records.

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With the win against Osasuna last night, Barca have consolidated their position on the top of the league with 14 points ahead of defending champions Real Madrid.

Barca, although, could clinch the title in their next game against Espanyol as Real Madrid was defeated by Real Sociedad last night at the Anoeta. So, the Culers just need 3 points to ensure a resounding La Liga triumph which is most likely to happen in the next fixture.

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