Barca needed a win to push their lead atop the league to 14 points, as well as put some pressure on Real Madrid, who have a big match against Real Sociedad tonight.
As well as a Copa Del Rey final to play this upcoming weekend.
How did Barca fare? Well let’s find out.
Barca’s first half performance borderline…frustrating to say the least.
With Osasuna fielding nearly, if not a full B squad, their objective today was to defend very well and take advantage of any opportunities on the counter attack.
When that plan is set into motion, we all know the drill. A team decides to stack a lot of players at the back to help cover defensively, which can make opposing attacking play pretty difficult.
That’s what happened in the first half, as Barca tried their hardest to break down Osasuna’s low block, but they simply couldn’t find the key to solve their problems.
However, despite the clear struggle to create chances against such a deep block, Barca did in fact find a way to create some half chances, as well as a clear cut one that should’ve been put away.
The first came after from an Alejandro Balde cross, that somehow found the streaking Pedri. Pedri tried to guide it into the back of the net with a far post, first touch finish, but the shot was sent wide and away from danger.
You could see what Pedri was trying to do, but in the end the quality just let him down on the finish.
The second opportunity was a bit of a half chance from Raphinha. After an Osasuna red card, Raphinha was standing in a pretty delectable free kick spot, around 4 or so yards from the half circle and just off to the right of the center point of Osasuna’s net.
The Brazilian took a whack at it, but his free kick went just over the bar and out of play.
Those were the only respectable chances Barca could create, as Osasuna’s deep block created far too many problems for Barca to handle at once.
The second half presented a different opportunity though, especially with Osasuna being down a man.
What could Barca cook up to make this match interesting? Well, let’s just say they cooked up a few side dishes before finally unveiling the glorious main course.
The second half could’ve been described with one word.
After halftime, Barca began to blitz Osasuna and create a boatload more chances than they did in the first half.
The first of the many chances began with Ansu Fati, who was fed by Robert Lewandowski. Fati’s shot was eventually saved by Aitor Fernandez, but with the message was clear.
Barca had figured things out and were close to finding that all important first goal.
The next chance came from Frenkie De Jong, who made a brilliant run into the middle of Osasuna’s penalty area. He tried to elegantly scoop his shot into the back of the net, but Fernandez was there waiting and guided the shot into the air and out of play.
Frenkie could’ve done a lot more with the chance to be fair, but the quality of the run was encouraging to see from Barca’s attack as a whole.
What occurred next was a barrage of chances that somehow didn’t wind up in the net.
Barca miss a load of chances
One chance was missed by Fati, who tried to send a powerful shot into the lower corner. But Fernandez got down quickly and pounced on the shot before it became any more of a threat.
The next chance came from Ousmane Dembele, who missed a glorious chance to score a wonderful volley by scuffing it and sending it wide of the net. Dembele had acres of space to finish too, he simply just didn’t put enough on the shot and it resulted in a waste of a chance.
Another chance came minutes later, as Lewandowski tried to guide a powerful shot into the lower corner past Fernandez. But like Fati’s shot, Fernandez got down quickly and erased the shot within the blink of an eye.
Just under 10 minutes later, Barca somehow didn’t score, as Fernandez’s attempted clearance bounced off the wandering leg of Ferran Torres and slid inches wide of the net.
Moments later, it appeared Barca had finally found the goal they were working so desperately for, but it was ruled out of offsides as Torres was in an offsides position on the previous cross that led to the wild sequence, and the eventual “goal”.
At this point, it didn’t look like Barca would be able to score even if somebody gave them a free penalty on an open net. The luck just wasn’t there whatsoever.
But some time later, Barca got the goal they were looking for, and it came fro a source that has become the face of clutch for Barca over the past few seasons.
Jordi Alba breaks the deadlock
It was Jordi Alba who finally gave Barca the goal they deserved, as his clutch goal in the 85th minute sent Barca to another win and another 3 points.
Gol de trivela do CAPITÃO JORDI ALBA! ⚡ pic.twitter.com/CTTPUIvQlY
— Menina Culé | Vídeos (@MeninaCule_VD) May 2, 2023
The goal wasn’t the prettiest, but the skill from Frenkie to head the ball to Alba, and the gorgeous finish by Alba himself gives this goal some much needed points on the quality scale.
Not a 10/10, but a solid 8/10 that deserves respect.
Barca managed to close the match out and secure a 1-0 win, which pushes their lead on the league to 14 points, barring Real Madrid’s result tonight against Real Sociedad.
This match was so frustrating.
Barca had created so many chances in the second half, but to see them not be rewarded was disappointing in itself.
Credit to Xavi’s men though, they kept scrapping and battling until they finally got the goal they had been working so hard to get. Also kudos to this squad for not letting up, not only to find the goal, but after the goal when they needed to cycle possession and finish out the match entirely.
I know Barca fans are tired of the 1-0 wins (which is hilarious) but these wins, when your finishing wasn’t the best, feel pretty good too.
Be happy, celebrate!
Barca’s next match
Barca’s next match will be on May 14th, as Barca looks to knock off fellow Barcelona rival Espanyol, away from home.
This’ll be in hostile territory, as well as a big match for Espanyol, as they’re fighting to avoid relegation.
See you all then!
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