Barcelona 1-0 Osasuna: Alba spares Blaugrana blushes against 10-man visitors

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Jordi Alba spared Barcelona's blushes against a defiant 10-man Osasuna after his late strike earned the hosts a 1-0 LaLiga win at Camp Nou on Tuesday.

The substitute tucked a low finish past Aitor Fernandez at the near post in the closing stages to keep the Blaugrana on the march to the title.

It delivered crucial relief for Xavi's side after they had largely failed to make the most out of an extra body against the visitors, following Jorge Herrando's 26th-minute red card.

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The win moves Barca onto 82 points and potentially just a couple of games away from clinching a first LaLiga title since the 2018-19 campaign.

An otherwise tepid game that had mustered little in the way of excitement burst into life shortly before the half-hour mark when Osasuna debutant Herrando brought down Pedri as the last man.

Referee Javier Iglesias brandished a straight red to end the 22-year-old's involvement, before Raphinha brushed the crossbar with the subsequent 30-yard free-kick.

Barca still looked below their best however and were forced to withdraw a limping Gavi before the break, though Ronald Araujo went close with a low header from a set-piece.

With their man advantage, the hosts stepped up their attempts to find an opener after the interval, with Ousmane Dembele firing wide at close range just after the hour mark.

Robert Lewandowski looked to have finally made the breakthrough with less than a quarter-hour left, only for Ferran Torres to be flagged offside as the hosts feared they would have to settle for a share of the spoils.

But Alba was there to net the winner in the 85th minute, slotting a neat strike between Fernandez and the post to send the home crowd into raptures.

What does it mean? Barca keep up march

They were made to wait, but ultimately, the Blaugrana got the job done against their visitors, sneaking a late winner to extend their lead at the top of the table.

With just five games left to play for Barca, it would take an almost unheralded collapse for them to be caught by Real Madrid now.

Xavi survives miserable first half

The hosts did not necessarily enjoy a fantastic game, however, with very few attempts during the first half troubling Fernandez.

In fact, Barca failed to register a shot on target in the first half of a LaLiga game at Camp Nou for the first time under Xavi. The last time that happened, Ronald Koeman was in charge.

Fernandez pays late price

Facing 21 shots in total, it was a busy game for the Osasuna defence, though just four on target meant Fernandez was only tested a few times.

He made three key saves, but ultimately could not stop Alba when it mattered most at the end.

Key Opta facts

- Barcelona have kept a clean sheet in 25 of their 33 LaLiga games this season, their most in a single campaign in the competition and just one less than Deportivo La Coruna's record in the 1993-94 season (26 games).

- Alba has been involved in seven goals against Osasuna in LaLiga (two goals, five assists), his joint-most against an opponent (also seven against Espanyol with one goal and six assists).

- Barcelona have won each of their last 17 LaLiga games in which the opponent saw a red card in the first half. The last time they did not win in this scenario in the competition was a defeat against Sevilla in March 2007.

- Barcelona have not conceded a first-half goal in 27 of their 33 games this season in LaLiga, more than any other team in the top five European leagues.

- This was Marc-Andre ter Stegen's 250th LaLiga game, 249 of which have come as a starter. This season, he has kept a clean sheet in 25 games, his record so far in a single campaign in the competition.

What's next?

Osasuna have a quick turnaround before the Copa del Rey final with Real Madrid on Saturday. Barcelona face a lengthy wait before playing Espanyol a week on Sunday.