Barcelona edges Osasuna in 1st game since coach Xavi announced decision to leave

MADRID (AP) — Barcelona, under the guidance of coach Xavi Hernández, rebounded with a 1-0 victory against Osasuna in the Spanish league on Wednesday.

Vitor Roque, the young Brazilian forward, netted his first goal for the club in Barcelona’s initial match following Xavi’s announcement of his departure at the end of the season.

Xavi revealed his decision after a disappointing 5-3 home defeat to Villarreal on Saturday, which came just three days after Barcelona’s 4-2 elimination by Athletic Bilbao in the Copa del Rey quarterfinals. The coach aimed to alleviate the stress and tension surrounding both the team and himself with his announcement.

Xavi expressed, “In making the decision to attain this goal, my intention was to elicit a response from the team. I was confident that if the players could muster an additional 1 percent, they would do so. The fans played a crucial role with their superb support. Unity is essential for our success.”

However, Barcelona faced difficulties at home against an adversary reduced to 10 men from the 67th minute when defender Unai Garcia received a second yellow card for a foul on Vitor Roque, who had scored in the 63rd minute. The 18-year-old forward, making his sixth appearance since joining from Brazil’s Atletico Paranaense this season, expertly headed in a cross from João Cancelo just a minute after coming off the bench.

The match had been rescheduled from earlier this month due to the teams’ participation in the Spanish Super Cup in Saudi Arabia, where Real Madrid triumphed over Barcelona 4-1 in the final.

With this victory, Barcelona closed the gap to eight points behind the Spanish league leader Girona. Additionally, they are now seven points adrift of Madrid, who have the opportunity to reclaim the top spot if they win their postponed game against Getafe on Thursday, which was delayed due to the Super Cup.

Osasuna, qualifying for the Super Cup as the runner-up in the Copa del Rey last season, had won two of its last three league games but remained in 12th place in the standings.

Predictions, Odds, and Kickoff Time for Barcelona vs. Osasuna in the 2024 La Liga: Expert Soccer Insights for January

Barcelona aims to extend their dominance over Osasuna in an upcoming La Liga clash set to unfold at the Olympic Stadium in Barcelona this Wednesday. In their 44 previous encounters across various competitions, Barcelona has secured victory 28 times, while Osasuna has managed six wins, with 10 matches ending in a draw. Impressively, Barcelona has triumphed in the last six meetings against Osasuna. Notably, this match marks the first since Barcelona manager Xavi Hernandez announced his decision to step down at the end of the season.

The kickoff is scheduled for 1 p.m. ET. The latest Barcelona vs. Osasuna odds favor Barcelona at -275 (risk $275 to win $100), with Osasuna positioned as the +600 underdogs. A draw is priced at +425, and the over/under for total goals scored is set at 2.5. Before finalizing your predictions or bets for Osasuna vs. Barcelona in La Liga, it’s essential to consider the insights of experienced SportsLine soccer analyst Martin Green.

Having worked in the sports betting industry for several years, Green transitioned into a professional sports writer and handicapper, providing comprehensive coverage of the game globally. Last year, he demonstrated profitability in various soccer picks categories, including Euro qualifying (+6.30 units), the EFL Cup (+4.47), the FA Cup (+3.07), and the Champions League (+3.05), among others. In the current year, he boasts a 12-8 record (+3.39) on all his soccer picks.

Martin Green has thoroughly analyzed the Barcelona vs. Osasuna matchup, offering his expert picks and La Liga predictions. For detailed insights, you can visit SportsLine now to access Green’s recommendations. Below, you’ll find the betting lines and trends for the Osasuna vs. Barcelona encounter.

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