For a second straight game, Robert Lewandowski came to Barcelona’s rescue after he earned and converted an 86th-minute penalty to grab a 2-1 win for Barcelona at Osasuna on Sunday.
Lewandowski’s winner came 10 minutes after substitute Chimy Ávila equalized for Osasuna. Barcelona defender Jules Koundé headed in the opening goal in first-half injury time.
Barcelona’s win kept it two points behind Spanish league leader Real Madrid after four rounds.
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Lewandowski also scored the winner for Barcelona in a 4-3 thriller at Villarreal last weekend.
“He is a natural-born scorer,” coach Xavi Hernández said about Lewandowski, who helped Barcelona recover the league title last year after he arrived from Bayern Munich.
“Maybe he didn’t have that many touches today, but even if he hadn’t scored, it would have been a great game by him,” Xavi said. “His goals have given us back-to-back wins.”
The game in Pamplona included the debuts of João Cancelo and João Félix as second-half substitutes. The Portugal players joined Barcelona on loan deals just before the close of the summer transfer window on Friday night.
Osasuna played the final minutes with 10 men after Alejandro Catena earned a red card for his foul on Lewandowski with only goalkeeper Aitor Fernández to beat. Lewandowski’s goal from the resulting penalty was his second of the season.
For Xavi, the win was not pretty but it was well earned at Osasuna, a team which reached the Copa del Rey final last season and whose physical style puts most visitors to the test.
“We didn’t play our best game, and in some stages we weren’t patient enough or able to create scoring chances,” Xavi said. “(But) the truth is the team worked hard. Today we put on our work clothes. We knew how to dig in and get the win.”
Koundé broke through in first-half injury time when he brushed off his marker and headed a corner kick by Ilkay Gundogan inside the far post and out of reach of Fernández.
Cancelo made his first appearance as a substitute just two days after he joined Barcelona on loan from Manchester City. The right back replaced Sergi Roberto with just over half an hour to go.
Shortly after, Osasuna coach Jagoba Arrasate renewed his entire attack, sending on Chimy, Ante Budimir and Kike Barja. The hosts soon pressed Barcelona into defending its area.
Chimy’s equalizer was similar to so many goals scored by fellow Argentine Lionel Messi for Barcelona. Apparently well marked by Alejandro Balde outside the area, Chimy sped from right to left along the edge of the box before unleashing a left-footed strike that curled around a group of defenders and went in off the post.
After Chimy’s goal, Félix, who arrived from Atletico Madrid, went on with 10-plus minutes remaining.
Lewandowski and Frenkie de Jong linked up in time to pull out the win. De Jong, who had started the game with a shot off the post, met a run by Lewandowski with a long ball that the Poland striker used one touch to control — just before he tumbled when Catena yanked his arm.
“We played a great game,” Arrasate said. “It is too bad that we can’t show anything for it. But this is the way forward.”
Central defender Iñigo Martínez also made his Barcelona debut in the final moments of the game. The former Athletic Bilbao player had been injured since signing for Barcelona this summer as a free agent.
Sixteen-year-old Yamine Lamal made a third consecutive start for Barcelona. On Friday the teenager was called up for Spain’s national team for the first time for upcoming European Championship qualifiers.
ATLETICO GAME POSTPONED
Atletico Madrid’s home game against Sevilla scheduled for Sunday was postponed ahead of forecasts of heavy rain in central Spain, the Spanish league said.
The Spanish league said it postponed the match after considering the warnings from Spain’s national weather service and the recommendation of Madrid’s municipal government.
Cristian “Portu” Portugués scored an 88th-minute winner to give Girona a 1-0 win over Las Palmas in his first game since returning to his former club.
The forward, who signed for Girona on Friday, had played for the Catalan club from 2016 to 2019 before stints with Real Sociedad and Getafe.
The undefeated Girona is the early surprise of the league and is level on points with Barcelona. Besides Las Palmas, Girona beat Sevilla and Getafe, and drew against Sociedad.
Also, Athletic Bilbao drew 0-0 at Mallorca.
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