Competition Focus

Barcelona beats Osasuna and will play Real Madrid for 2nd straight year in Spanish Super Cup final

RIYADH, Saudi Arabia (AP) — The “clasico” will decide the Spanish Super Cup winner for the second straight season.

Barcelona defeated Osasuna 2-0 on Thursday to set up a rematch of last year’s final against Real Madrid in Saudi Arabia.

Robert Lewandowski and Lamine Yamal scored a goal each for the Catalan club, which last season won the title for its first trophy with coach Xavi Hernández and without Lionel Messi.

Madrid reached Sunday’s final by defeating rival Atletico Madrid 5-3 in extra time on Wednesday. It won the first “clasico” of the season 2-1 in the Spanish league in October in Barcelona.

Barcelona beat Madrid 3-1 to lift the trophy last season, and another triumph this year would come in handy for the Catalan club as it arrived under pressure after a series of lackluster performances. It sits seven points behind Spanish league leaders Madrid and Girona at the competition’s halfway point.

Barcelona hadn’t won by more than one goal in 20 matches, since a 5-0 rout of Antwerp in the group stage of the Champions League in September. The only other time it won by two goals or more this season was in a 2-0 triumph against Cadiz in the Spanish league in August.

“We’ve been improving,” Barcelona midfielder Frenkie de Jong said. “The first half wasn’t too good but we played better in the second. To play against Madrid is always exciting. It will be a match between two high-level teams. We’ll be ready.”

Barcelona dominated early but there were few chances for any team in the first half. It stayed in control after halftime and opened the scoring in the 59th with a low shot by Lewandowski after a pass by Ilkay Gündogan. Yamal sealed the victory from inside the area three minutes into stoppage time after a nice run by João Félix.

Barcelona got a boost from the second-half changes made by Xavi, who added Pedri and Félix into the game. Yamal had replaced Raphinha because of an injury just before halftime.

“We knew we would struggle, Osasuna is one of the best teams defensively,” Xavi said. “The players who came off the bench did well and helped us. We know there is still a lot to improve, but we are satisfied. There is no favorite for the final, but hopefully it will go our way again, as it did last year.”

Osasuna complained of a foul in the buildup of Lewandowski’s goal.

“It was a clear foul,” Osasuna captain David García said. “These fouls are always called for the same teams. It’s a shame, we deserved more. We have to apologize to our fans.”

Osasuna, which hasn’t finished lower than 11th in the Spanish league since returning to the first division in 2019, tried to press forward toward the end but still couldn’t create many significant chances.

There was a vivid atmosphere at the Riyadh stadium, with about 600 Osasuna fans in attendance after making the trip from Spain. There was no significant contingent of fans traveling to support Barcelona, nor Madrid or Atletico for Wednesday’s semifinal.

The Super Cup’s revamped “Final Four” format debuted in Saudi Arabia in 2020 in the first of a lucrative multi-year deal for the clubs and the Spanish soccer federation.

Barcelona qualified for the Super Cup as the Spanish league champion a year ago. Osasuna qualified by making it to the Copa del Rey final last season, when it lost to Madrid.

The Super Cup marks the first Spanish competition in which the audios between officials during video reviews are made available after matches. The procedure will continue during Spanish league matches.


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