Match Reviews

Barcelona 2-0 Osasuna: Match Review | Spanish Super Cup semi-finals

The defending champions of the Spanish Supercup returned to their title defence on Thursday night as they locked horns with Osasuna in this season’s semifinal. A win would set up a finale date with Real Madrid while a defeat meant the end of the road in the competition.

Xavi deployed Inaki Pena in goal on the night with Ronald Araujo and Andreas Christensen in central defence. Jules Kounde and Alejandro Balde started at right-back and left-back respectively.

In midfield, Barcelona had Sergi Roberto, Frenkie de Jong and Ilkay Gundogan plying their trade while Raphinha, Robert Lewandowski and Ferran Torres started in the final third.

It took just four minutes on the night for the possession battle to take its expected shape. Barcelona immediately assumed charge of the lion’s share of the ball with the Pamplona-based side comfortably settling into a defensive setup.

A set-piece in the sixth minute gifted Barcelona their first half-chance of the night. A good delivery set up Christensen in the Osasuna area, but the Dane’s header was saved by Sergio Herrera. Less than a minute later, the opponents threatened a dangerous counterattack that ended in Kounde blocking Ante Budimir’s attempt.

Sergio Herrera’s poor clearance gifted Ferran Torres with a golden chance to score in the ninth minute of the game but his shot drifted painfully wide of the target. The same repeated in the Barcelona area a minute later as Areso’s strike was placed wide of the target.

Barcelona’s control of the proceedings only improved after the opening spell, with Osasuna increasingly pushing back in numbers. A third through the first half, a Roberto-led counter culminated in Lewandowski testing Herrera but failing to beat him.

As the Catalans steadied the ship, their defensive resilience improved midway through the first half. The chances kept arriving, however, with Roberto striking the ball wide once and Lewy’s header misdirected a minute after the half-hour mark.

The 33rd minute saw an elaborate VAR check after Alex Catena’s rash last-man tackle on Raphinha. Finally, the colour did not change and stayed yellow.

Osasuna’s biggest chance of the first half arrived in the 38th minute when Areso’s cutback to Budimir on the counter found the striker at point-blank range. His shot, however, could not get the better of Inaki Pena.

Lamine Yamal came on for Raphinha with three minutes to go in the first period after the Brazilian experienced muscular discomfort. The youngster almost immediately produced a peach of a pass to set Torres free on goal but the Spaniard could not finish.

Heading into half-time Barcelona were comfortably the better side, although still level on the scoreboard. They had nine shots to Osasuna’s five and hit the target three times.

The second half began in a similar fashion, with Barcelona establishing their command over the proceedings within the opening five minutes.

The eventual deserved breakthrough for Barcelona arrived just shy of the hour mark. Gundogan’s perfect through ball from outside the box threaded through the Osasuna defence to fall at Lewy’s feet. The Pole took one touch and unleashed a vicious shot into the bottom corner, one Herrera had no reply to.

Pedri and Joao Felix came on for Sergi Roberto and Ferran Torres respectively at the hour mark.

The period that followed saw Barcelona hog possession and knock the ball around for a good ten minutes. The only tangible chance created came from Felix’s solo effort that forced a stunning save from Herrera.

A lovely combination play from Kounde, Gundogan and Yamal saw the Frenchman pin a ball back into the area. However, neither Lewy nor Felix could capitalise on the glaring chance. Less than a minute later, Gundogan’s long-range shot tested Herrera.

Osasuna began pushing higher in numbers as the final ten minutes neared with Budimir and Raul Garcia creating the most threat. However, Barcelona defended in unison to mitigate the pressure.

The 93rd minute saw 16-year-old Yamal craftily put the ball past Sergio Herrera after a stunning buildup play from Joao Felix. The team second goal wrapped the result and set it in stone.

In the end, the clash ended with Barcelona boasting the slender lead. Xavi’s men progress to the final of the Spanish Super Cup and will face Real Madrid on Sunday for the title. One win is all that separates Barcelona from their first title of the campaign.

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