Late Lewandowski Penalty Seals Hard-Fought Barcelona Victory Over Resilient Osasuna
Barcelona survive Osasuna’s grit and late drama to secure three points in a 2-1 victory at El Sadar.
The clash between Osasuna and Barcelona promised an intriguing encounter, with the Catalans facing a well-organized Osasuna side on their home turf.
Barca manager Xavi opted for some interesting lineup choices, notably 16-year-old sensation Lamine Yamal starting ahead of the fit Raphinha on the right flank.
The midfield trio consisted of Ilkay Gündogan, Oriol Romeu, and Frankie de Jong, while Jules Kounde partnered with Andreas Christensen in the heart of the defense, flanked by Jordi Balde and Sergi Roberto.
Joao Felix, Joao Cancelo, and Iñigo Martínez were among the substitutes, poised to make their first appearances of the season for the away side.
Before the game, Iñigo Martínez, who had been recovering from injury, expressed his determination to fight for his place in the team; highlighting the competitive nature of the squad.
The match also marked a significant milestone for 19-year-old Gavi, who celebrated his 100th appearance, becoming the youngest Barcelona player to reach this achievement.
The opening moments of the match saw early drama when Frankie de Jong struck the crossbar with a powerful effort. However, clear-cut chances were hard to come by, with Osasuna’s defense proving resilient.
In the 45th minute, Barcelona broke the deadlock as Jules Kounde rose above the Osasuna defense to head the ball into the net from a corner kick, giving Barcelona a 1-0 lead.
Despite the lead, Barca struggled to generate scoring opportunities against a well-drilled Osasuna side.
Xavi’s midfield quartet failed to click, and Robert Lewandowski often found himself isolated up front. The halftime break offered Xavi the opportunity to consider tactical adjustments or introduce fresh legs to the team.
The first half was characterized by impressive saves from Barcelona’s goalkeeper Marc Andre Ter Stegen, Kounde’s goal, and De Jong’s relentless work rate, keeping Barcelona in the lead.
The second half started with a physical encounter, as Gavi sustained a bleeding injury to his right ear following a nasty elbow from Ruben Garcia.
In the 58th minute, Xavi decided to make changes, bringing on Joao Cancelo and Ferran Torres to replace Sergi Roberto and Lamine Yamal, aiming to inject fresh energy into the attack.
Despite the visitors efforts, it was Osasuna who found the back of the net in the 76th minute when Chimy Avila unleashed a powerful left-footed strike from the edge of the area, leveling the score at 1-1.
With time running out, Xavi introduced Joao Felix – making his FC Barcelona debut – as he replaced Oriol Romeu in the 79th minute, hoping to find a late winner.
In the 82nd minute, Barca were awarded a penalty as De Jong’s delicate ball over the top found Lewandowski, who was tripped by Alejandro Catena inside the box. The referee initially showed Catena a yellow card, but after a VAR review he upgraded it to a red card, deeming it a clear denial of a goal-scoring opportunity.
Lewandowski stepped up and calmly converted the penalty in the 85th minute, putting Barcelona back in the lead at 2-1.
As the match neared its conclusion, Osasuna appealed for a penalty themselves in injury time, but the referee remained unmoved. Barcelona held on to secure a hard-fought 2-1 victory.
The final whistle signaled a challenging victory for Barcelona over a determined Osasuna side.
Despite Osasuna’s spirited response to Kounde’s opener, Barcelona ultimately triumphed with Lewandowski’s late penalty. Catena’s red card proved crucial in the outcome of the match, as it denied Osasuna a chance to fight back with ten men.
After the game, Xavi acknowledged the team’s efforts, saying, “Today we needed our work overalls; the team has suffered and has earned it.” He praised the team’s defensive performance and recognised the need to generate more opportunities on the wings.
Barcelona will now turn their attention to their next fixture, hosting Real Betis at the Estadio Olimpico on September 16th, while Osasuna will visit Getafe on September 17th.