Barcelona let three points slip from their grasp at Osasuna as a late stunner from Chimy Avila secured a 2-2 draw for the hosts in LaLiga on Sunday (December 12). Barcelona are eighth in the table, still outside the European qualification places and 15 points off leaders Real Madrid.
Deprived of seven key players through injury, Barca coach Xavi Hernandez was forced to turn to his youngsters and 19-year-olds Nico Gonzalez and Abdessamad Ezzalzouli both scored as the visitors twice took the lead. But Osasuna levelled first through defender David Garcia and then almost in stoppage time, through a low shot from Avila from outside the box that deflected in off Samuel Umtiti’s right foot.
Xavi had told reporters on Saturday that he was worried after their 3-0 defeat to Bayern Munich which saw them exit the Champions League at the group stage for the first time in almost two decades. He said the club needed “a reset”, to create a new Barcelona.
— FC Barcelona (@FCBarcelona) December 12, 2021
Yet their performance on Sunday in Pamplona was more of the same, as his team continued to struggle to create opportunities and to keep their opponents at bay. “We are in a negative spiral and we need to find a way to break it,” Xavi told reporters. “This draw is not enough. When we scored the second goal we should have taken control but we didn’t and that made us suffer.”
Barca opened the scoring in the 12th minute when 17-year-old Gavi found Nico with a precise long through-ball that broke Osasuna’s defensive line and left him all alone inside the area to score. Osasuna responded immediately as Garcia connected with a perfect header that went in close to Marc-Andre Ter Stegen’s right post. It then became a nervy encounter with few clear opportunities.
Barcelona’s second goal arrived from a counter-attack, created when Osasuna’s players were complaining about a handball from Sergio Busquets. Ousmane Dembele sprinted between the hosts disrupted defence and crossed for Ezzalzouli to volley home powerfully.
Osasuna never gave up, however, and found the equaliser with an Avila effort that left Barca stunned.