Osasuna 1-2 Barcelona (3 Sep, 2023) Game Analysis
Robert Lewandowski’s late penalty earned Barcelona a hard-fought 2-1 win at Osasuna on Sunday as the defending LaLiga champions secured their third consecutive victory after starting the season with a goalless draw at Getafe.
Barca started well and almost scored in the second minute when a Frenkie de Jong shot bounced off the post and Lewandowski stroked the rebound wide, from close range with an empty goal.
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Ilkay Gündogan also wasted a golden opportunity a few minutes later when he miscued a loose ball inside the box after a Lamine Yamal strike was blocked by a wall of defenders.
“We have to demand more from ourselves. We dominated the ball, but lacked patience and we have to generate more,” Barca manager Xavi Hernandez said after the match. “I would say second half at Villarreal was very good and what we are looking for. Today, we dominated but have not generated enough. But sometimes you hit the level you’re looking for, other times less so.”
The hosts had a good chance to score through Aimar Oroz, but Barca goalkeeper Marc Andre ter Stegen made a fine one-handed save to palm his close-range strike around the post.
Osasuna goalkeeper Aitor Fernández also made a fine stop to deny the 19-year-old Gavi, who became the youngest player to reach 100 matches for Barcelona.
Barcelona took the lead with a Jules Koundé header from a corner by Gundogan in added-time before the break, but Chimy Ávila equalised in the 76th minute by unleashing an unstoppable curling shot from the edge of the box which flew into the back of the net off the right post.
But five minutes later, right after new-recruits João Cancelo and João Félix came off the bench to make their debuts, Barca were awarded a penalty when Alejandro Catena grabbed Lewandowski’s right arm inside the box.
“They both came on at a really difficult moment at at Osasuna, but they both worked really hard for the team,” Xavi said. “That’s the base. It is non-negotiable. You work hard for the team and then enjoy [yourself] with the ball. They are both versatile, can play inside and outside.
“Cancelo coming in to create superiority in the middle is one of the options. Felix can play on the left coming in, as a No.9, even on the right, although he is not as comfortable there. He’s going to give us a lot.”
The defender was shown a red card for the last-man foul and the Polish striker slotted home the spot-kick with a tidy finish to the goalkeeper’s left.
“Sometimes we are very demanding. He has given us four points in the last two games,” Xavi said of Lewandowski, who is been criticized for his play by the Spanish press in recent weeks. “We spoke in the week about his role being more positional. He won and scored the penalty. He played really well. And last week he scored the winner, too.
“He always works hard and he’s always there. He is our goalscorer.”
Barca are third in the LaLiga standings on 10 points, level with Girona. They trail leaders Real Madrid by two points.