Barcelona secured a 2-0 victory over Osasuna in the second half, thanks to goals from Robert Lewandowski and Lamine Yamal in a subdued Spanish Super Cup semi-final held in Saudi Arabia on Thursday. The outcome paves the way for an eagerly anticipated showdown on Sunday against Real Madrid, who earlier in the week triumphed in a thrilling 5-3 derby against city rivals Atletico Madrid. This sets the stage for a rematch of last year’s final, where Barcelona emerged victorious with a 3-1 win.
Barca had the better chances in a dismal first half, but they struggled to break down a determined Osasuna defense that was unafraid and fearless in committing men forward. Lewandowski headed wide when well-placed and fired tamely at Sergio Herrera in a first half in which Osasuna keeper Ante Budimir was called into action several times. Raphinha was replaced at the break by 16-year-old Yamal, and his arrival gave Barca a much-needed boost in attack.
The pacey winger quickly threatened and set up Lewandowski for a chance, but the Pole could not take advantage. But the game came to life after the interval, with Ilkay Gundogan finding the forward, and he carried the ball into the box before tucking the finish into the bottom corner. The goal brought a delighted roar from the Barca supporters behind the goal, and even Osasuna’s David Garcia could not argue with the decision to award the goal. However, replays suggested that Andreas Christensen had fouled Jose Arnaiz before setting up the move.
Osasuna struggled to create and was exposed on the counter-attack as Barca kept up the pressure. A second goal came soon after Joao Felix crafted a quick counter and set up Yamal, who blasted low into the bottom corner from inside the box in the 92nd minute to seal the victory.
It was Barca’s first win by more than a single goal since September, and it sets them up nicely for their La Liga title challenge. Xavi Hernandez will hope that victory against his former club will be the catalyst to ignite their season and get the Catalans back to winning ways after a slow start.
Real will be hoping that Karim Benzema is fit for the final after he suffered a leg injury in the Atletico win on Tuesday, and coach Carlo Ancelotti might choose to bolster his attacking options with Eduardo Camavinga or Toni Kroos. Real have looked shaky at the back in recent games and were vulnerable in the second half of their win over Atletico, but they have a strong track record in this competition in recent years and should be confident of reaching the final. They have won this competition in the last six seasons and could go into it as favorites.