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Marcador del partit

  • Date: Sunday, 04 Feb
  • Competition: ???label.competicio0???
  • Stadium: Reyno de Navarra, Pamplona


  • Osasuna: 0
  • FC Barcelona: 0

Match report

Match Report

Only missing a goal (0-0)

FC Barcelona had to settle for a draw after an intense encounter with Osasuna in Reyno de Navarra that saw Samuel Eto'o return to action after more than four months out.

While the visitors' attack was thwarted, the Barça defence looked strong and laid the foundations for an improved performance all round. The only thing missing was a winning goal. Frank Rijkaard's side dominated for long periods against their Pamplona-based opponents, who played their part in an exciting match. The best news of the evening for the Blaugrana, however, came in the 84th minute when Eto'o entered the fray to make his long-awaited comeback from a meniscus injury that he suffered in September. The draw was enough to see Barça remain as league leaders for another week, even they deserved more from the outing.

Tactical changes

There were always likely to be changes in Rijkaard's team, but it remained to be seen whether Eto'o would start or not be risked from the beginning and, in the end, caution was used. Santiago Ezquerro began on the left side of the three-pronged attack in place of Ronaldinho, while Ludovic Giuly was on the right. Rafa Márquez moved forward to play as the defensive midfielder and Edmílson took the Mexican's place alongside Carles Puyol in the centre of the back four. These switches gave Barça more solidity, althouth they came up against a resolute Osasuna side that defended in numbers and broke away strongly. The home side were dangerous going forward as Savo Milosevic proved with a powerful header early on which Víctor Valdés did well to save.

Early chance

After just half an hour it was evident that the grass was loose as the pitch had many divots across it, making smooth passing more difficult. Despite that, Barça did not stop attempting to play their quick, incisive game as accuracy remained the key. The first clear chance of the evening for the visitors arrived when Ezquerro nodded a long ball into the path of Javier Saviola, but the Argentinian cold only fire straight at Ricardo in the Osasuna goal. Four minutes before the break, the Barça number seven had another opportunity as he broke into the area down the left, but sent a powerful drive across the face of goal and wide of the far post. Milosevic and Roberto Soldado continued to pose a threat at the other end, but the Blaugrana defence held strong.

Exciting match

The pulsating encounter did not let up after the break as the contest swung from end to end as Raúl García, Patxi Puñal and David López did their best to create opening for the home team. Giuly was also looking lively as he used his pace and guile to cause problems down the right flank. Ezquerro had the first opening of the second period when he took aim from outside the area, only to fire wide of the post. Saviola then had a golden opportunity to make the breakthrough when Márquez flicked on a corner, but the striker volleyed over the bar from close range, shortly before being replaced by Andrés Iniesta. Márquez then had a chance of his own as Barça continued to press, but his shot from 25 yards took a deflection and dropped into the keeper's gloves.

Eto'o's return

In the final minutes, the visitors began to lay siege to the Osasuna area, but the home side employed two banks of four and minimised the threat. Xavi and Ezquerro had half-chances as the clock ticked away, but the biggest cheer of the night from Barça's travelling fans came in the 84th minute when Eto'o finally made his entrance in place of Deco. The Cameroon international looked delighted to be back, but was unable to have major impact in amongst the incredibly tight Osasuna defence. In the closing minutes, the closest the away team came to snatching all three points arrived in injury time when Xavi had a drive that flew over.



Big away support

The club has arranged yet another Barça 'convoy' for tonight's game, with one of the biggest sets of travelling fans ever to go to Pamplona to watch their side at one of the league's most atmospheric grounds, the Reyno de Navarra.

Reinforcements arrive

With Eto'o but without Ronaldinho, Barça face Osasuna tonight keen to consolidate their position at the top of the table. Motta and Ezquerro are also back in the squad.

Tonight's encounter at the Reyno de Navarra (21:00, C ) could see Samuel Eto'o back in the side. But although the Cameroonian is back, Barcelona will be missing Ronaldinho, who is still carrying a minor injury sustained in the cup match with Zaragoza midweek. But that does not change the objective, of course, which is none other than to continue at the top of La Liga. Yet that will have to be done at a ground where Barça have traditionally found it hard to play their natural game, and where the home fans create the kind of pressure that can make away wins a very difficult prospect.

A long awaited return: After four months, Samuel Eto'o is back in the team sheet as Barça go to Pamplona. The Cameroonian has been training with the rest of his colleagues all week, but whether he actually gets to play tonight depends on what Frank Rijkaard decides. The game also sees Rafa Márquez return from suspension.

Shock absence: But Barcelona will be missing Ronaldinho. The Brazilian star is having bother with his ankle and knee this week, following the home defeat to Zaragoza in the cup, and the Medical Services and coaching staff have considered it better to leave him to rest.

So, the full squad for tonight's game reads as follows: Valdés, Belletti, Motta, Márquez, Puyol, Xavi, Gudjohnsen, Giuly, Eto'o, Gio, Edmílson, Ezquerro, Deco, Zambrotta, Saviola, Oleguer, Iniesta and Jorquera.

A poor run: After a slow start to the championship, 'Cuco' Ziganda's side then started stringing together a series of positive results. But recently that form has been lost, and it has been an especially tough week for Osasuna , losing twice to Getafe, once in the Copa del Rey (3-0) and once in La Liga (2-0).

Evenly matched: Of the 28 previous encounters involving the sides in Pamplona, Barça have won ten times, the same as Osasuna, with the other eight games ending in draws. The goalscoring record is also well balanced, with Osasuna scoring 37 and Barcelona 36.

Since Frank Rijkaard has been on the bench, Barça have beaten the Reds twice, and lost once.

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