Barcelona Secures Narrow Victory Against 10-Man Osasuna, Thanks to Alba’s Goal

    Jordi Alba spared Barcelona a blush against a defiant 10-man Osasuna after his late shot gave the hosts a 1-0 La Liga victory at Camp Nou on Tuesday.

    The substitute beat Aitor Fernandes at the near post in the closing stages to keep the Blue Garnets on their way to the title.

    This was a decisive relief for Xavi’s team after they failed to make the most of their extra body against the guests after Jorge Errando’s red card in the 26th minute.

    With this win, Barça are on 82 points and perhaps just a couple of games away from winning their first La Liga title since the 2018-19 season.

    An otherwise tepid game that didn’t cause much excitement broke into life just before the half-hour mark when Osasuna debutant Errando defeated Pedri as the last man.

    Referee Javier Iglesias waved a red to end the 22-year-old’s interference before Rafinha hit the crossbar for the ensuing 30-yard free kick.

    However, Barça still looked below their best and were forced to recall a limping Gavi before half-time, although Ronald Araujo came close with a set-piece header.

    With a man advantage, the hosts intensified their attempts to find the first ball after the break, with Ousmane Dembele shooting from close range just after the hour mark.

    Robert Lewandowski appeared to have finally made his breakthrough with less than a quarter of an hour left, but Ferran Torres was ruled offside as the hosts feared they would have to settle for a share of the trophy.

    But Alba was there to score for the winner in the 85th minute with a well-placed shot between Fernandez and the post to enthrall the fans.

    What does it mean? Barça is not far behind

    They were kept waiting, but in the end the Blue-Whites managed their visitors, eluding the late winner and extending their lead in the table.

    With only five games left to play for Barça, it would take an almost unexpected crash for Real Madrid to catch them now.

    Xavi had a bad first half

    However, the hosts did not necessarily enjoy the fantastic performance, with very few attempts in the first half bothering Fernandes.

    In fact, for the first time under Xavi, Barca failed to score on target in the first half of a La Liga match at the Camp Nou. The last time it happened, Ronald Koeman was in charge.

    Fernandez pays the overdue price

    In total, Osasuna’s defenders landed 21 shots and it was a tight game for Osasuna’s defense, although just four shots on target meant that Fernandes was only checked a handful of times.

    He made three key saves but ultimately failed to stop Alba when it mattered most.

    What’s next?

    Osasuna have a quick turn ahead of Saturday’s Copa del Rey final against Real Madrid. Barcelona have a long wait before playing Espanyol for a week on Sunday.

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