Kopar Khairane
Sports

La Liga 2022–2023: As Real Madrid falters, Jordi Alba's goal pushes Barcelona closer to winning the league

Barcelona continued blowing opportunities in the Camp Nou match against Osasuna with 10 men.

Ansu Fati, Pedri, Ousmane Dembélé, and Robert Lewandowski all missed clear chances to score, while the team's best scorers failed to break the score despite decent opportunities.

The Catalan club needed a seasoned defender to step up and help it win its first Spanish league championship in four years.

Tuesday's hard-fought 1-0 victory for Barcelona against Osasuna with 10 men came thanks to a goal from Jordi Alba in the 85th minute, only moments after coming off the bench.

The win gave Barcelona a 14-point advantage over Real Madrid, who fell to Real Sociedad 2-0 later that day. The Catalan club may be able to secure the championship as soon as next weekend, according on the combination of results.

Barcelona coach Xavi remarked, “It was a really huge step for us, but we suffered too much, squandered too many great opportunities to score.

The attention of both Madrid and Osasuna is on their Copa del Rey final on Saturday in Seville. Madrid is also concentrating on the semifinal matchup with Manchester City in the Champions League, with the first leg taking place on May 9 in Madrid.

Before the team's first Copa final since 2005, Osasuna coach Jagoba Arrasate rested several of the team's regular starters against Barcelona.

Barcelona's record, which includes eight league wins in 11 seasons, came to an end in 2019, when they last won the league. When Lionel Messi departed the squad in 2021 due to the club's financial difficulties to join Paris Saint-Germain, it was their last league championship with him.

Barcelona had won three consecutive home matches. It had lately had a difficult period, but wins against Atletico Madrid and Real Betis at Camp Nou helped it keep a comfortable lead at the top.

After central defender Jorge Herrando, who was making his first-division debut, was given a straight red card for pushing Pedri from behind to thwart a breakaway, Osasuna began the game with one man less than usual. Raphinha's subsequent free kick sailed off the crossbar.

Prior to being sent off, Pedri came close to scoring from close range, but after losing a man, Barcelona was unable to generate many more meaningful opportunities, closing the half without any shots on goal.

Before the 34-year-old Alba finally broke the score with a low shot with the outside of his left foot after being set up by De Jong inside the area in the second half, Frenkie de Jong, Fati, Dembélé, and Lewandowski all came close. Less than ten minutes have passed since Alba joined the game.

Barcelona, who had lost playmaker Gavi in the 36th with what seemed to be a muscular injury, recorded its 25th league shutout. He was substituted out for Fati.

Despite having won three of its previous five league games, Osasuna was coming off a home defeat to Sociedad.

Later on, Sociedad will face Madrid in an effort to maintain its grip on fourth place and the last Champions League spot. It is five points behind Villarreal in fifth place, which will travel to relegation-threatened Valencia on Wednesday.

FALLS OF MADRID

Takefusa Kubo, a former Madrid player, scored in the 47th minute, and Ander Barrenetxea added another goal in the 85th to hand Madrid its second league defeat in three games and solidify Sociedad's grasp on the last Champions League spot.

Dani Carvajal, a defender, was sent from the game in the 61st minute for a foul. The reigning champions had just defeated Almeria 4-2 but had fallen to Girona 4-2 in the previous round.

Fourth-placed Sociedad, which has gone undefeated for four straight games, won for the second time in a row. It increased the distance between fifth-place Villarreal and Wednesday's visit by relegation-threatened Valencia by eight points.

RELEGATED ELCHE

After losing 2-1 at Almeria, last-place Elche became the first team demoted to the second division.

As a consequence, the team now has 16 points, which is 17 points behind Valencia in 17th position, the first team outside the relegation zone.

With only three victories in 33 games, Elche had not competed in the second division since 2019–20. With a 4-0 victory against Rayo Vallecano in the previous round, it snapped a six-game losing streak. Almeria, which had lost three of its previous four games, rose three points out of the bottom-half of the standings to take 14th.

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