Barca down Osasuna to set up Clasico Super Cup final

AFP , Thursday 11 Jan 2024

Robert Lewandowski and Lamine Yamal's second-half strikes earned Barcelona a 2-0 win over Osasuna on Thursday and set up a Spanish Super Cup final Clasico rematch.

Barcelona's Spanish forward #27 Lamine Yamal celebrates with Barcelona's French defender #23 Jules Kounde after scoring his team's second goal during the Spanish Super Cup semi-final football match between Barcelona and Osasuna at the Al-Awwal Park Stadium in Riyadh, on January 11, 2024. Photo: AFP


The Catalans beat Real Madrid in last year's final and will face their bitter rivals again Sunday after Los Blancos beat Atletico Madrid in an eight-goal thriller in the first semi-final in Saudi Arabia.

Osasuna goalkeeper Sergio Herrera kept Barcelona at bay before Ilkay Gundogan slipped in veteran forward Lewandowski to open the scoring before the hour mark.

The 35-year-old has not been at his best this season but finished clinically to give his team the lead.

Yamal, 16, stroked home his first goal since October in stoppage time to clinch Barca's victory.

Beating Madrid last season in the Super Cup final earned Xavi Hernandez his first trophy as coach and set up the Spanish champions nicely for their league title tilt.

The sides will do battle again at the Al-Awwal Park stadium in Riyadh with Barcelona attempting to kick-start their season, which has started in disappointing fashion.

After opportunities at both ends record 14-time Super Cup winners Barca carved out the first big chance on the break, with Sergi Roberto feeding Lewandowski, but Herrera got down well to deny him.

Jagoba Arrasate's side, runners up in last season's Copa del Rey final against Real Madrid, were playing in the competition for the first time.

The vast majority of Saudi fans were supporting Barca but there was a strip of supporters dressed in Osasuna red, who cheered as Herrera pummeled Ilkay Gundogan's free-kick away.

After a mixed start to the season Osasuna found some defensive solidity with three clean sheets in four matches prior, but had Lewandowski to thank for not breaking the deadlock when he glanced a header wide from a corner when well placed.

Alejandro Catena was booked for bringing down Barca winger Raphinha as he sprinted through on goal and although Barcelona called for a red card, it was not upgraded by the officials.

Barcelona goalkeeper Inaki Pena made an impressive save from Ante Budimir five minutes before the break as Osasuna bared their teeth.

Raphinha limped off injured for Barcelona and was replaced by teenager Lamine Yamal, who quickly threatened with his pace and incisive pass that Lewandowski could not force home.

Lewandowski eventually struck in the 59th minute after Gundogan found him with a clever ball. The Polish forward carried the ball into the box and tucked a finish home at the near post.

Xavi brought on Pedri Gonzalez for his first appearance in nearly a month after injury, and Joao Felix, who has fallen out of favour lately but immediately forced a brilliant Herrera save at full stretch.

Osasuna failed to put Barcelona under enough pressure to find an equaliser and Yamal slotted home at the death after good work by Felix to set up Sunday's mouthwatering final.

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