Jordi Alba and Ilaix Moriba rockets fire Barcelona into second place
La Liga, Estadio El Sadar – Osasuna 0 Barcelona 2 (Alba 30’, Moriba 83’)
Ilaix Moriba of FC Barcelona celebrates with Lionel Messi and Ousmane Dembele after scoring their team's second goal during the La Liga Santander match between C.A. Osasuna and FC Barcelona at Estadio El Sadar on March 06, 2021 in Pamplona, Spain
Barcelona moved to within just two points of Atletico Madrid at the top of La Liga with a 2-0 away win over Osasuna at El Sadar.
Antoine Griezmann returned to the Barca starting lineup after three games on the bench while Gerard Pique missed out after suffering another injury in the Copa del Rey comeback win over Sevilla.
The visitors started well and took the lead on the half-hour mark when Lionel Messi picked a pass from deep for Jordi Alba to run on to with the left back lashing home a powerful strike at the near post.
Jordi Alba of FC Barcelona Celebrates 0-1 with Lionel Messi of FC Barcelona, Antoine Griezmann of FC Barcelona during the La Liga Santander match between Osasuna v FC Barcelona at the Estadio El Sadar on March 6, 2021 in Pamplona Spain
Image credit: Getty Images
Ousmane Dembele was introduced for the start of the second half, but the switch to a 4-3-3 formation didn’t work for Barcelona as Osasuna took charge and pressed for an equaliser that never came.
Barca made sure of the result late on when 18-year-old Ilaix Moriba came off the bench to score his first goal for the club, curling a left-footed strike into the top left corner of Sergio Herrera’s net.
Ronald Koeman’s resurgent side are now just two points adrift off Atletico Madrid’s pace at the top of La Liga, although the capital club still hold two games in-hand. But with the two Madrid clubs set to meet each other in the derby tomorrow, Barca have done all they can to apply pressure.
'La Liga title race is not over' – Koeman after win over Osasuna
TALKING POINT - PSG beware, Barcelona have built some momentum since first leg defeat
There’s no denying Paris Saint-Germain are well-placed to make the quarter finals of this season’s Champions League having beaten Barcelona 4-1 at the Camp Nou last month. But since that defeat the Catalans have won four of five matches, including a second leg comeback victory over Sevilla in the Copa del Rey semi final. Barca have built momentum since their last Champions League outing and PSG cannot afford to be complacent. Wednesday’s match could be a very different sort of encounter.
Lionel Messi of FC Barcelona, Antoine Griezmann of FC Barcelona during the La Liga Santander match between Osasuna v FC Barcelona at the Estadio El Sadar on March 6, 2021 in Pamplona Spain
Image credit: Getty Images
MAN OF THE MATCH - Jordi Alba (Barcelona)
Marc-Andre ter Stegen, Messi and Ilaix all shone for Barcelona in Pamplona, but it was Alba who impressed above all else. The left back has found his shooting boots in recent games, cracking the crossbar in the mid-week win over Sevilla and backing that up with a ferocious finish to break the deadlock in this game. Alba provided Barca with an outlet down the left side throughout the match and Osasuna struggled to handle him.
Barcelona's Spanish defender Jordi Alba (L) celebrates with Barcelona's French midfielder Antoine Griezmann after scoring during the Spanish League football match between CA Osasuna and FC Barcelona at El Sadar stadium in Pamplona on March 6, 2021.
Barcelona - Ter Stegen 8, Dest 7, Mingueza 6, Lenglet 6, Umtiti 4, Alba 8, De Jong 6, Busquets 5, Pedri 7, Messi 8, Griezmann 5. Subs - Dembele 6, Braithwaite 5, Ilaix 8, Firpo 3, Puig 3.
20’ Was Messi off?! The referee has flashed a red card to Herrera for bringing down the Argentine when he was through on goal, but there was a flag up for offside. He might have got off the hook! Indeed, the red is rescinded!
30’ GOAL! Osasuna 0-1 Barcelona: Barcelona have the lead at El Sadar and Alba is the one who has found the back of the net! Messi played a pass from deep over the top of the Osasuna defence, Alba steadied himself and lashed home a spectacular finish at the near post!
35’ Big ter Stegen save! Ruben Garcia brings down a pass wonderfully well and gets the shot away from six yards out, but the angle was tight and the Barcelona goalkeeper makes the strong stop!
70’ He should have scored! Calleri gets ahead of Mingueza to meet a delivery into the Barcelona penalty box, but the Osasuna forward puts his diving header just wide of the near post!
83’ GOAL! Osasuna 0-2 Barcelona: A first Barcelona goal for Ilaix and what a goal it was! The young midfielder shifted the ball on to his left foot and curled a finish into the top corner of the Osasuna bet from about 25 yards out! The Catalans surely have the points secure now.
At 18 years and 46 days old, Ilaix Moriba became the youngest player to have scored from outside the box in La Liga this season.
For the first time in their history, Barcelona have won their first seven away games of a calendar year.
Lionel Messi has now been directly involved in 25 La Liga goals this season, seven more than any other player.