Messi to the Rescue with Late Strikes

August 27, 2012

Barcelona snatched a 2-1 win thanks to two late goals by Lionel Messi away at CA Osasuna on Sunday evening. Barça’s opponents were energetic and enterprising, creating a number of chances in an entertaining and even encounter. Joseba Llorente scored a volley in the first half, but Barcelona fought back in the last 15 minutes. Messi scored a tap in, then curled a stylish shot in from the edge of the area.

Unlike many Primera Division opponents Osasuna try to attack rather than counter against Barça, which, combined with a less than ideal playing surface, makes for a tricky away trip.

Osasuna were positive from the start and could have had a goal inside a minute when Cejudo got away from Pique and unleashed a near-post shot that drew a world-class one-handed save from Valdes.

Barça responded with a chance of their own; Iniesta guided a sublime pass through for Alexis, but Andres in the Osasuna goal was quick off his line to close the angle and make the save.

The came an Osasuna goal – Lamah picked up the ball on the left flank and curled in a deep cross to the back-post that Joseba volleyed in from an acute angle, leaving Valdes with no chance.

Barcelona continued to create chances. Tello drew a save from Andres, and then Iniesta missed what looked like a simple chance – Alexis was released down the right flank and, with just the ‘keeper to beat, squared for Iniesta. But just before it reached his foot the ball took an unfortunate bounce, and was duly sent flying over the bar from eight yards.

Valdes had to be sharp to keep out a low shot from Lamah and then Joseba Llorente’s follow up was blocked by some determined defending. Troubled as they were at the back, Barcelona were a constant threat at the other end – just before the break, Messi rounded Andres, but the ‘keeper recovered to make an important save.

Osasuna continued to pressure Barcelona in the second half. Lamah might have scored after a powerful run and shot, and, soon after, Osasuna almost added to their one-goal lead when Busquets was robbed in front of his area. The ball broke for Nino, who was one-on-one with Valdes, but his low shot grazed the right post and went out for a goal kick.

After key changes and with just 15 minutes remaining, Barcelona finally clicked into gear. After good work by Pedro on the right side of the box, Alexis seized on a mistake by an Osasuna defender, and squared for Messi who slid in and scored from five yards out.

Osasuna lost a man when midfielder Punal was shown a straight red for protesting a possible offside in the build up. And seconds later, Messi had scored again. This time Jordi Alba crossed low from the left and Messi tucked a low strike inside the left post to claim a hard-fought and valuable away win.

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