PAMPLONA, Spain — A 10-man Barcelona secured a dramatic 2-1 win in Osasuna on Tuesday.
An early goal for Osasuna and a red card for Robert Lewandowski appeared to have Barcelona cornered, with a red card for Gerard Pique in the last game of his club career adding to injury.
But Barcelona took control in the second half, even losing a man and collecting all three points with goals from Pedri and Raphinha.
Here’s ESPN’s Sam Marsden with a reaction and analysis from Estadio El Sadar.
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1. 10-man Barca dig deep after biggest win of the season
It’s no exaggeration to say that this was perhaps Barcelona’s biggest win of the season so far.
Given how the game was developing, they would have liked to take a point from Tuesday’s game in Osasuna until Raphinha’s late header unexpectedly gave them three points. Temporary centre-back Frenkie de Jong bet on the Brazilian’s run in the 85th minute and struck a brilliant finish to score just his second goal of the season the day after lamenting his lack of goals since joining from Leeds United.
An hour earlier, things hadn’t been looking good for Barca. They got off to a slow start, Sergio Busquets was sloppy on a corner kick and they conceded. Then Robert Lewandowski was goofy and they were too easily teased by refereeing decisions that they felt went against them.
But despite all that, and despite playing with 10 men for an hour after Lewandowski’s red card, they still managed to leave Pamplona with a win that will ensure they are top of LaLiga at the World Cup break after Real Madrid lost to Rayo Vallecano on Monday .
The equalizer came from Pedri, who at just 19 seems ready to take over midfield from Busquets, who had slipped painfully off pace here. His poor play led to the corner Osasuna scored from – he then lost goalscorer David Garcia – and he gave the ball again moments later for Chimy Avila to hit the side netting.
Barca were able to regroup during the break to secure three potentially very important points at the end of the season.
2. Lewandowski and Pique see red
There was no 617th Barcelona appearance for Gerard Pique. This was to be his last game before retirement but he did not make it onto the pitch after being sent off at the break over objections to referee Jesus Gil Manzano. It was the 11th dismissal in his Barca career.
Pique was upset with Manzano’s first-half performance and Barca were furious that Garcia’s early goal hadn’t been canceled due to a foul by Unai Garcia on Marcos Alonso.
Barca were also disappointed that Lewandowski was sent off, although they could have fewer complaints about his two yellow cards, particularly the second, which was led for a high elbow challenge. It was only the second layoff of his career and his first since 2013.
Luckily for Barça, it didn’t cost them anything, while Poland could be happy he got an extra hour off ahead of the World Cup.
3. Osasuna plays well but misses the chance to finish third
It will be of little consolation tonight, but the fact that this loss felt so disappointing is a sign of just how good Osasuna has been this season. As they took the lead, they temporarily moved up to third place in LaLiga. Instead they ended the night sixth but there is no doubt they should be in contention for European places in the New Year.
Pamplona has always been a difficult place for teams and that is true under manager Jagoba Arrasate as well. They were also the first team to take points from Madrid this season and they will feel they should have done the same against Barca with the numerical advantage.
However, they could not pay off this advantage. They had chances, registering 15 shots on Barca’s nine and by the end it looked like they could get a draw, but Ante Budimir’s later header went wide and ended those hopes.
Osasuna: Fernandez 5, Vidal 6, U. Garcia 5, D. Garcia 7, Cruz 6; R. Garcia 7, Moncayola 6, Torro 5, Gomez 6; Oroz 6, Avila 6
Subtitle: Brasanac 6, Barja 6, Pena 6, Budimir 6, K. Garcia 6
Barcelona: Ter Stegen 6; Balde 7, Christensen 6, Alonso 6, Alba 6; 3 Busquets, 8 De Jong, 8 Pedri; Dembele (6th), Lewandowski (3rd), Ferran Torres (6th).
Subtitle: Gavi 6, Raphinha 7, Ansu 6, Chadi Riyadh 6
Best and worst performers
BEST: Frenkie de Jong, Barcelona
He managed the game well when Barca was reduced to 10 men and came into play brilliantly late at defender, providing a brilliant assist for Raphinha’s winner.
WORST: Sergio Busquets, Barcelona
Perhaps Lewandowski earned a nod for his irritability, but Busquets was twice at fault for the first goal and struggled for most of the night when pressed.
Highlights and notable moments
Osasuna stunned Barca with a goal within the first six minutes.
García put Busquets on the ball from a corner kick and nodded past goalkeeper Marc-André ter Stegen.
OSASUNA LEADS BARÇA 1-0 😱 pic.twitter.com/d6D41hlFmW
— ESPN FC (@ESPNFC) November 8, 2022
However, proceedings got worse for Barcelona when Lewandowski received a second yellow card and was thrown out of the game in the 31st minute.
However, neither Lewandowski nor anyone on Barca’s side have a big argument – he clearly challenged his opponent regardless of where the ball went and eliminated his man.
Robert Lewandowski was sent off for Barcelona’s second bookable offense.
The thing about Barca is that you can never count them and they found their equalizer quickly after the break.
The goal was the third for 19-year-old Pedri this season.
Pedri equalizes for Barcelona
After the game: What the players and coaches said
Barcelona coach Xavi Hernandez on the result: “I’m really proud of the team, of the family, that we’re in the dressing room. Everything was against us today: the refereeing decisions, the goal, down to 10… We were intelligent. We used our moments well and we were clinical with our chances. We were solid in the second half, worked hard and will be in the lead in the World Cup break. It’s a team win today. I’m very proud.”
Xavi on Pique’s red card: “Pique would have come on today because Christensen couldn’t play for 90 minutes and Eric Garcia is in pain. He was the first central defender to come on.”
Key Stats (via ESPN Stats & Info)
Lewandowski’s red card was the second of his career. It had its premiere on February 9, 2023 in the Bundesliga. He has never received a red card with Poland.
Pique’s red card was the 11th of his career at Barcelona, tying Hristo Stoichkov for the most in club history.
Pedri now has three goals in LaLiga this season. That’s his goal tally for the entire 2021-22 season.
Raphinha’s goal ended a 13-game goal gap against Barcelona.
Barcelona: Barca are taking a break for the World Cup and will only return to action on New Year’s Eve when they host Espanyol in LaLiga on December 31. The kick-off time for this game has not yet been determined.
Osasuna: Los Rojillos will play one more time before the World Cup: Saturday, November 12 in Fuentes in Spain’s Copa del Rey at 10am ET. (Watch live on ESPN+.)
https://www.espn.com/soccer/blog-the-match/story/4796470/barcelona-net-best-win-yet-after-lewandowski-pique-red-cards Barcelona net best win yet after Lewandowski, Pique red cards