With their second defeat of the season, FC Barcelona offered Real Madrid the chance to capitalize and to further stretch their lead at the top of La Liga. (On Sunday a 4-2 win over Levante means that Real Madrid now enjoy a ten-point lead on Barcelona.)
With even the most die-hard “Cules” now questioning the possibility of catching Real Madrid optimism is something clearly in short supply around the Barcelona camp.
For Barca it was a night of misfortune with the game played in horrible weather conditions and with a pitch to match.
Right from the kick-off Osasuna took charge and in the 4th minute they took the lead with a goal from Lekic. The FCB defense was disturbingly weak with Puyol and Pique both struggling and by half-time Barcelona had conceded again and trailed 2-0. Throughout the first half Barcelona offered no real threats and allowed Osasuna to control the game.
The early stages of the second half offered hope to Barcelona fans as their team set about Osasuna with a spirit and enthusiasm that had been lacking over the first forty-five minutes.
They gained some control and momentum after Guardiola substituted Puyol and Pedro in favour of Cuenca and Tello. The move quickly paid off and in the 51st minute, Alexis would pull one back for Barca. The joy, however, was short-lived after another defensive gaff allowed Osasuna to score once again and to re-establish a two goal cushion.
Substitute Tello would go on to find a second goal, and the Barcelona boys continued to search for the final equalizer, but alas, there was to be no equalizer.
Guardiola stated that “distancing ourselves from Madrid is painful, but we have to keep going until the end. We can only play the next game as best we can to do well”.
Focus for FC Barcelona now shifts to Champions League round of 16 which starts on Tuesday, February 14th when they will face Bayern Leverkusen.
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