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Lionel Messi Leads Barcelona to Comeback Victory at Osasuna

Xoel CardenasContributor IIIOctober 8, 2016

Lionel Messi Leads Barcelona to Comeback Victory at Osasuna

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    What is it about this Osasuna team that continuously plays FC Barcelona so tough in these past few seasons?

    It’s always a struggle for el blaugrana in Pamplona, and Sunday was no different as FC Barcelona had to come back in the second half of the game to defeat Osasuna 2-1 in one of the best games of the football weekend.

    Osasuna came out tough within the first 30 seconds of the game as Alvaro Sejuro came inside the box, passed both Carles Puyol and Gerard Pique and took a great shot at Victor Valdes, who made a fabulous save.

    The home team played with so much energy in the first minutes of the game as they made it tough for Barca to get out of their own half of the pitch. Ray Hudson of belN Sport put it best when he said on air that this was a street fight for Barcelona as Osasuna was not afraid of Tito Vilanova’s men.

    And Osasuna got the first punch in the 17th minute as Ronald Lamah crossed it inside the box and found the boot of Joseba Llorente and put it passed Valdes for a wonderful goal.

    Andres Iniesta almost made it 1-1 after Alexis Sanchez found him Andres alone inside the box only to see Iniesta put it Section 12, Seat 17 of the stands.

    Valdes made another huge save in the 33rd minute as Lamah got past Puyol and launched a shot at near point-blank range towards VV, who made the stop. Pique had to make a save on because he was on the floor as the Lamah shot rebounded to Llorente, who missed his opportunity to make it 2-0.

    Osasuna goalkeeper Andres Fernandez had a terrific first half as he stopped all shots, including great shots from the Barca forwards of Alexis Sanchez, Lionel Messi and Cristian Tello.

    The second half saw Barcelona begin to come up forward more as they were looking for the tie. But Osasuna continued to put the pressure on. Pique and Puyol made another mistake in the 60th minute as bad passes lead to an Osasuna shot on goal.

    Segio Busquets almost assured the Osasuna win in the 70th minute as Busi lost the ball in the back line, which led to an Osasuna breakaway. Nino had the win locked if he would have put the ball in the back of the net, but he just missed.

    Tito Vilanova was sent off after that play as he thought Busquets was fouled.

    You can't miss those kinds of chances against a team like FC Barcelona.

    And Lionel Messi made Osasuna pay.

    Messi finally tied the game up in the 76th minute. Sanchez found Messi, who slid to slowly roll it past it past Fernandez for the equalizer.

    Just four minutes later, Messi slap-shotted the ball to the back of the net after a great pass by Jordi Alba, who found Leo at the top of the box. The rest was Messi magic!

    Osasuna seemingly deserved a tie at least. Messi’s magic was late in coming, but just in time as Barcelona defeated Osasuna 2-1.

    It was the first comeback win at Osasuna in 52 years.

    Now that we’ve reviewed the game, let’s hand out the report cards for the Barcelona players in their 2-1 comeback victory over a tremendous Osasuna on Sunday.

Goalkeeper and the Defense

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    Victor Valdes

    A phenomenal save by VV in the first 30 seconds of the game. Valdes couldn’t do anything about the Llorente goal in the 17th minute. Victor had another tremendous save in the 33rd minute as Lamah got passed Puyol and had a close shot at goal.

    I though Valdes had a monster game and redeemed himself—to an extent—after his big mistake in the Super Cup game against Real Madrid and played great.

    Grade: A-


    Dani Alves

    Not a big first half by the Brazilian. Alves played even more up in the first 25 minutes of the second half as Barca were looking for the equalizer. After Messi tied the game, Alves stepped a bit more back to defend.

    Grade: B


    Gerard Pique

    Terrible play by both Pique and Puyol to allow Cejuro to pass both of them. Great save by Pique on the floor in the 33rd minute as Llorente was close to making it 2-0. Both Pique and Puyol made another mistake in the 60th minute as sloppy play led to an Osasuna shot on goal.

    Grade: C


    Carles Puyol

    Allowed Cejuro to get past him and get a shot at goal in the opening minute. Allowed Lamah to get past him in the 33rd minute, which led to a shot at Valdes. A tough first half for Puyol. Second half wasn’t that much better for el capitan as Puyol and Pique’s bad passes led to an Osasuna shot at Valdes in the 60th minute.

    A poor game for Carles, and it got worse as he suffered a fractured cheekbone in the game (via Sky Sport). He is out for at minimum a month.

    Grade: C-


    Jordi Alba

    Jordi’s lack of height is one way an opponent can beat him, and that’s what happened in the 17th minute as Llorente flew past and over Alba for the goal. Alba was better in the second half as it was his pass to the top of the box for Lionel Messi that set up the second Messi goal.

    Alba did not have a great game, but his pass to Messi to set up the game-winner was brilliant.

    Grade: B-

Midfielders

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    Sergio Busquets

    Not a good first half from Busi as he was a bit sloppy with passes. The second half saw a bit better of Busi, but he almost made the mistake of the game as he lost the ball that almost led to a Nino goal.

    Grade: C


    Andres Iniesta

    Sloppy first half by Don Andres. But Andres flat out missed the back of the net in the 26th minute as Alexis found Andres, who put the ball in the stands. Continued to get beat by Osasuna defenders in the second half.

    By his own standards, an awful game for Andres.

    Grade: C-


    Cesc Fabregas

    Very quiet first half for Cesc, but he did make a good play in the 45th minute as he found Messi on a quick start to set up a shot at goal. Fabregas was replaced by Pedro in the 62nd minute.

    Not an influential game by Cesc. This is the second game that he has not put his mark in a Liga game. Let’s hope that changes soon.

    Grade: C

Forwards

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    Alexis Sanchez

    Great shot at goal in the fifth minute. Good runs by the Chilean in the first half. You could tell he was hungry for his first goal of the year. Sanchez set up Iniesta beautifully in the 26th minute, only to see Andres sky the ball.

    Iniesta missed another shot at tying it as a Messi shot rebounded to Iniesta in the 45th minute, only to see it roll to the goalkeeper’s hands.

    It was a Sanchez pass that led to Messi’s equalizer.

    Alexis had a solid game, in my opinion. He didn’t get his goal, but it’s clear that el niño maravilla is in top form.

    Grade: B+


    Cristian Tello

    Such a wonderful player Tello is. Pulled the trigger on a bullet shut in the 15th minute as his shot hit the left post. Had another good chance in the 18th minute as Messi set him up for a chance to tie the game.

    I didn’t think Cristian Tello had a bad game, just bad breaks. The kid will only get better.

    Grade: B-


    Lionel Messi

    Questionable offside in the 16th minute. Great run in the 18th minute by Leo to set up Tello for a shot on goal as Messi was trying to quickly respond to the Llorente goal. Good shot at goal in the 45th minutes as a Cesc quick start caught Osasuna off guard.

    Messi got the equalizer in the 76th minute as Sanchez found Leo for the 1-1 tie. A brilliant shot just four minutes later as Messi put a slap shot past Fernandez for the winner.

    Just when it looked like Osasuna was going to beat Barcelona in Pamplona for the second consecutive time, King Leo saved Barcelona once again.

    Grade: A


    Pedro, Xavi, and David Villa all get a “Pass” as they did not have an impact on the game.

Overall Grade and Conclusion

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    Overall, I give FC Barcelona a  grade of C+. The team was not at their best to say the least, and it took Messi magic to bring them back.

    Let me just say much respect goes to Osasuna and their terrific effort in the game. They were the better team for most of the game. Let's not forget that when Messi scored the second goal, Osasuna were down one player via red card as well.

    By the way, the referees were simply awful in this game.

    Tito Vilanova must be happy to get the win, but even he knows they barely escaped Pamplona with any kind of points.

    Grande Messi! King Leo saves Barcelona again.

    With Real Madrid's 2-1 loss to Getafe, Messi, Tito, and FC Barcelona are now five points ahead of Jose Mourinho and Cristiano Ronaldo's team in La Liga.

    Now the attention quickly turns to the second leg of El Clásico: Spanish Super Cup edition.

    With a 3-2 lead in the global score, Messi and Barcelona are just 90 minutes away from celebrating in the Santiago Bernabeu. However, this Real Madrid team is not going to be put away so simply.

    But we'll talk about this game later this week.

    It was a street fight in Pamplona, but in the end, Messi and FC Barcelona struck the two final shots and sweated out a victory.

    Animo, Carles. Get better soon.

    Time to focus on Real Madrid.

    Time to focus on winning first title of the 2012-13 season.

    Time for El Clásico, Part 2 of 2.

    ¡Vamos! 

     

    Xoel, The Voice of FC Barcelona on Bleacher Report.

     

    Don't forget to check out my other columns:

    Barcelona vs. Real Madrid: Grading the Barca Players in Win vs. Madrid

    Barcelona vs. Real Sociedad: Grading the Barca Players in Their Liga Opener

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