Barcelona dismantled Osasuna to record a 7-1 victory in the La Liga on Wednesday night
The pressure is on in the title race with Barcelona only having four games left to play in the La Liga after Wednesday night’s match, but the Catalans did not show it as they ran riot on Osasuna, who had no answer for Barcelona’s brilliant attacking play.
Lionel Messi picked up a brace as did Andre Gomes and Paco Alcacer, while Javier Mascherano finally scored his first goal for the Blaugranes. Real Madrid played later on and defeated Deportivo La Coruna 6-2, which means that both teams are now tied on 78 points, with Madrid yet to play their game in hand.
It was a dominant performance from Luis Enrique’s side who do not look like they will slip up again this season, especially with several of their players playing their best football of the season at a crucial time. We take a look at some of the key talking points from the match.
Messi leads the charge again
After two disappointing legs against Juventus during which Barcelona failed to score against Massimiliano Allegri’s side, the focus fell on Lionel Messi who was scapegoated for Barcelona’s exit in the quarter final.
He has since responded as champions do, with his match-winning performance against Real Madrid, one that will remain in people’s memories for a long time to come. Messi was at it again last night.
The Argentinian was a constant thorn in Osasuna’s side and despite not grabbing the headlines, he opened the scoring and everything productive ran through him. Messi ended the night with 4 shots taken, 1 key pass and 3 successful take ons, not to mention his brace on the night.
Fittingly, the night started with Barcelona fans paying tribute to the Argentinian magician’s 500 goals in Barcelona colours. Despite the fact that he is 29 years of age, it is a real possibility that Messi could easily add another 100 to that number.
Mascherano’s goal an indicator of his time at Barcelona coming to an end
The fact that Javier Mascherano had not scored a goal for Barcelona before Wednesday night had flown under the radar for many, but Barcelona fans knew all too well that the Argentinian had an astonishing record in his 319 appearances for the Catalans.
When Barcelona were awarded a penalty, the Camp Nou rang out with calls for Mascherano to be allowed to take it. Ivan Rakitic was initially supposed to take the penalty, but it would have been hard to deny Mascherano the opportunity to break his duck.
He took the penalty with some aplomb, smashing the ball into the net to the delight of his teammates. At 32 years of age, one gets the feeling that Mascherano was given this chance because his time at Barcelona will come to a close at the end of the season – something that many Barca fans feel is inevitable.
Mascherano desperately struggling again tonight. Been a wonderful player but I think he’s nearing the end at this level.
— Andy West (@andywest01) April 11, 2017
Barcelona’s team spirit on show once more
Another thing that was clear for all to see from Mascherano being gifted the penalty was just how strong the team spirit is within this Barcelona side. Ivan Rakitic gave up the penalty after a conversation with Pique, as he confirmed after the match.
Rakitic: “I wanted to take the penalty kick but Pique said let Mascherano take it. He was right, you have to listen to the president.”
— FC Barcelona Fl (@FCBarcelonaFl) April 27, 2017
Pique is undoubtedly one of the leaders in the team, but one gets the feeling Rakitic would have allowed Mascherano to take it in any case, given just how loud the chants were from the Camp Nou. The reaction from the bench also showed just how much it meant to his teammates when he scored the penalty.
Barcelona have been through some of the toughest times in recent years this season with several of their players being booed, but they have never once allowed that to get in the way of their unity, with no one being singled out for criticism at any point.
It is this team spirit which will be one of the major factors should the Catalans clinch the title this season and acts of selflessness like last night’s – something that is common with the Catalans – only add to their strength.
Andre Gomes finally earns the plaudits
Andre Gomes has been criticised as one of the worst signings in Barcelona’s recent history after moving to the Catalans for the substantial fee of €35 million, plus €20 million in add-ons. Gomes has been one of the players singled out as a reason for Barca’s poor season and this has been unfair at times on the 23-year old.
The Portuguese international finally earned plaudits last night after he put in a fine performance. Gomes had a whopping 100 touches of the ball, completed 1 key pass, 1 take on, put in 4 tackles and scored an unlikely brace. Quite a complete performance, albeit against a side that is bound for relegation.
Osasuna going down with a whimper
Osasuna are stuck at the bottom of the table at 18 points, two points behind Granada in 19th and 6 points behind Sporting in 18th. The visitors showed no fight last night despite the fact that they need every point they can get and were fully deserving of their 7-1 thrashing.
Osasuna have been the worst side in the La Liga by some distance this season and their only bright light has been Sergio Leon, who has scored some great goals. They did not look like they belonged in the La Liga, and they will likely exit in the same fashion, without a fight and without much fanfare.