Osasuna 1-2 Barcelona: Debuts for the two Joaos and a Lewandowski late penalty ensures Xavi’s side grind out a victory away from home
- Robert Lewandowski’s 85th minute penalty gave Barcelona three points away
- New signings Joao Felix and Joao Cancelo both came off the bench for debuts
- Xavi’s side had to grind out the victory after Chimy Avila’s sensational effort
Barcelona gave debuts to the two Joaos but it was Robert Lewandowski who won them the game against Osasuna.
He won a late penalty and then scored it to give Xavi’s team a 2-1 win. They were not at their best and a superb strike from the tattooed tornado Chimy Avila looked to have earned a point for the home side by the Polish centre-forward got the winner.
Joao Cancelo was impressive when he came on after 59 minutes; Joao Felix less so but he will be delighted with a win on his debut.
Aimar Aros should have scored on 31 minutes but Marc Andre Ter Stegen saved his shot from the edge of the area as Osasuna started well.
Barcelona were getting frustrated and Lewandowski who was sent off in this fixture last season was booked for a stray elbow.
A minute over the first 45 and Jules Kounde rose in a crowded box to head in Ilay Gundogan’s corner and put Barcelona ahead.
Osasuna came out fighting in the second half and Ruben Garcia inadvertently left an elbow on Gavi who need stitches in his ear off the pitch.
Just before the hour mark 16-year-old Lamine Yamal was replaced by Ferran Torres and coming on with the former Manchester City forward was another ex-City man for his debut. Cancelo is being billed as the best right back Barcelona have signed since 2008 when they brought Dani Alves from Sevilla and he made an impact.
Lewandowski then clumsily went in late for one challenge and risked a second yellow. It was fortunate for Barcelona that he stayed on because he would be decisive as the clock ran down.
Osasuna brought on Avila and Ante Budimir and got their deserved leveler. Gavi was now back on the pitch and he picked up a yellow card for a foul on Inaki Munoz. He also had Xavi in his ear after the giving the ball away. Barcelona still had the lead but they had lost control of the game.
Cancelo crossed from the right and Lewandowksi was convinced his volley crossed the line. The Portuguese had been offside so the goal would not count anyway. The cross had been a gift for Lewandowski. He complained last week of a lack of support and service in attack.
With 15 minutes left Avila scored in style from the edge of the area with a curling shot that kissed Ter Stegen’s right post and nestled in the back of the net.
The ecstasy for the home supporters was short-lived. Catena put an arm across Lewandowski and he made the most of the touch to go down. It looked as if the referee was checking his penalty decision when he looked at it pitchside but what he was clarifying was whether there was no intent to play the ball and it prevented a goal scoring chance. Both boxes were ticked and Catena was sent off.
Lewandowski dummied the keeper in his run-up and then rolled the ball into an empty net for 2-1 from the spot. Felix had come on by now but it was his new team-mate who had settled it for Barcelona. The same old Lewandowski – not at his best but winning the game for now-third Barça.
Barcelona (4-3-3) : ter Stegen; Roberto (Cancelo), Christensen (Martinez), Koundé, Balde; Romeu (Felix), de Jong, Gündogan; Gavi, Lewandowski (Raphina), Lamine Yamal (Torres).
Subs not used: Kochen, Pena, Alonso, Cubarsi, Casaso, Lopez
Goals: Kounde 45+1′, Lewandowski 85′ (P)
Booked: Balde, de Jong, Lewandowski
Osasuna (4-1-4-1): Fernandez; Cruz, Herrando, Catena, Areso (Vidal); Munoz, Arnaiz (Avila), Oroz, Lumbreras (Moncayola), Garcia (Barja); Garcia (Budimir)
Subs not used: Herrera, Mojica, Pena, Garcia, Garcia, Gomez, Torro
Red Card: Catena
Manager: Jagoba Arrasate
Referee: Javier Iglesias Villanueva