Messi provides 2 assists for Barca ahead of Madrid derby

AP , Sunday 7 Mar 2021

Barcelona's Moriba Kourouma Kourouma, celebrates with his teammates after scoring his side's second goal during the Spanish La Liga soccer match between Osasuna and FC Barcelona (AP)

Lionel Messi set up two goals to help Barcelona win 2-0 at Osasuna and close the gap with Spanish league leader Atletico Madrid to two points on Saturday.

Jordi Alba drilled a shot from a tight angle past goalkeeper Sergio Herrera in the 30th minute after Messi played him clear down the left flank with a chipped pass behind the defensive line. It was the defender's fifth goal of the season.

Substitute Ilaix Moriba put the result beyond doubt with seven minutes left. The 18-year-old midfielder, who debuted two weeks ago, scored his first goal for the team when he took a pass from Messi and drilled the ball into the corner of the net.

Marc-Andre ter Stegen made two saves for Barcelona in the first half when Osasuna threatened on the counterattack.

Barcelona extended its undefeated run to 16 league matches to keep the pressure on Atletico a day before it hosts third-place Real Madrid in a Spanish capital derby. Atletico will also have one more game to play after this round.

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