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Feb 12, 2012

FC Barcelona would belooking at a huge 10 point deficit with League leaders Real Madrid by the end of tomorrow night after going down 3-2 against osasuna. If the Villareal draw had put a huge blow to Barca's title hopes, then this defat at Pamplona virtually ends the league hopes. If Real madrid win against Levante at home tomorrow, the lead at the top will climb to a huge 10 points. Considering our away form, by the time Real Madrid visit Camp Nou, there is a high chance that it will end up becoming much bigger. Now Barcelona has to win all our matches to avoid giving Real Madrid the dreadful Guard of Honour. In a very windy and chilly night, Guardiola once again decided to start Xavi from the bench and the midfield had a completely different look with Sergi Roberto, Thiago and Mascherano. The front trio had Pedro, Messi and Sanchez. The defense had the usual look of Alves, Puyol, Pique and Abidal with Valdes in goal.

The condition were not tha great for us. In the 4th minute our offside trap was exposed but Valdes was quick to come off the line and claim the ball. But the very next minute we went a goal down. Raul Garcia stroked the ball to Lekic who broke past our defense and was one on one with Valdes and made no mistake. In the 9th minute Thiago picked up a Sanchez run but was wrongly judged as offside. In the 11th minute shot from outside the box and the keeper had to tip it over for a corner. It became really bad when Lekic doubled the tally in the 23rd minute when he got past a static defense to make contact to a cross from the left. In the 28th minute Messi played a neat one-two with Sanchez but he couldn't get the power on his final shot. In the 39th minute Messi had a shot blocked in the Osasuna box after some nice work by Sanchez. We had around 67% possession, but the truth was that we made nothing out of it. Not once we looked comfortable on the pitch.

We needed to turn the entire game around in the second half inorder to get anything out of this match. Guardiola made two switches in second half with Cuenca and Tello coming in for Puyol and Pedro. In the 50th minute Messi fired a shot from the edge of the box but the keeper pushed it over. But we finally pulled one back in the 51st minute when Sanchez met a brilliant cross from Cuenca. In the 56th minute Osasuna increased the lead back to two goals from a goal from Garcia. Abidal and Valdes were both guilty in the build up. In the 65th minute Messi found Tello on the left oof the box, whose shot was saved by the keeper. In the 70th minute Guardiola made the last of the allowed replacement bringing in Cesc for Pique. In the 73rd minute Tello scored the second for us turning inside his marker inside the box. In the 78th minute we were lucky not to have conceded again after Osasuna had one shot hit the post. In the 79th minute Thiago had one shot saved by the keeper. In the 81st minute Sanchez had the ball back in the net but was ruled wrongly offside. In the injury time Fabregas had a great chance to tie the match but he headed straight at the keeper.

Many may blame Guardiola for tonight's defeat, especially for selecting a very inexperienced midfield. but it's really unfair on him. It was great to see he resting the main stays of the team. And it was not in the midfield we lost the game. Roberto and Thiago did play well and was usually the outlet of all positive things. It's the defense which stumbled. The three Osasuna goal were all gross mistakes from defense. The turning point was the mistake which led to the third goal. After a very poor first half, we were taking full control of the match and that goal came. That really killed off any chances. We actually equalised through Sanchez but was ruled wrongly offside. We have to give the benefit of the doubt to lines man there, it was such a tight call. Performances of teh much experienced players tonight were the reason why we lost, the youngsters really played their heart out. Messi played one of his worst game of the season. Even though the performance was sub standard, we cannot blame them as they were facing the toughest of condition - cold and wind. These kind of stumbles are expected to happen, but what made this a killer blow is taht we dropped too many easy points earlier.

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