Robert Lewandowski and Lamine Yamal’s second-half strikes on Thursday earned Barcelona a 2-0 win over CA Osasuna and set up a Clasico Supercopa de Espana final.
The Catalan side beat Real Madrid in last year’s final and face their archrivals again tomorrow after Los Blancos beat Atletico Madrid in an eight-goal thriller on Wednesday in the first semi-final in Saudi Arabia.
“We want to take the ball off Madrid, that’s our DNA, we’re hugely motivated, it’s the moment to show our best football,” Xavi told reporters. “We’re in another final, another Clasico, which was our main objective — we didn’t play a brilliant game, but a serious, sensible one.”
Osasuna goalkeeper Sergio Herrera kept Barcelona at bay before Ilkay Gundogan slipped in veteran forward Lewandowski to open the scoring before the hour mark.
The 35-year-old has not been at his best this season, but finished clinically to give his team the lead.
Yamal, 16, stroked home his first goal since October last year in stoppage-time to clinch Barca’s victory.
Beating Real Madrid last season in the Supercopa final earned Xavi Hernandez his first trophy as coach and set up the Spanish champions nicely for their league title tilt.
The sides are to do battle again at the al-Awwal Park in Riyadh, with Barcelona attempting to kick-start their season, which has started in disappointing fashion.
The victory over Osasuna was Barcelona’s first by more than a single goal since September last year, an unconvincing run of form.
“It’s true that it’s been some time since we’ve won by more than a goal, but it doesn’t matter, it’s about winning, playing well, and we played a solid game,” Barcelona midfielder Frenkie de Jong told Movistar. “We have to improve, we are improving — it’s quite a new team this year with a lot of changes and you always need time to improve. [You need time] to get used to your teammates and we’ve had a lot of injuries, too, we’re in that process and there’s a final against Madrid, it’s great, two top-level teams.”
Record 14-time Supercopa winners Barca battled in the first half with Jagoba Arrasate’s side, runners-up in last season’s Copa del Rey final against Real Madrid and playing in the competition for the first time.
The vast majority of Saudi Arabian fans were supporting Barca, but there was a strip of supporters dressed in Osasuna red, who cheered as Herrera pummeled Gundogan’s free-kick away.
Lewandowski headed wide when well-placed to score and at the other end Barcelona goalkeeper Inaki Pena made an impressive save from Ante Budimir five minutes before halftime.
Raphinha limped off injured for Barcelona and was replaced by Yamal, who quickly threatened with his pace and incisive pass that Lewandowski could not force home.
Lewandowski eventually struck in the 59th minute after Gundogan found him with a clever ball. The Polish forward carried the ball into the penalty area and tucked a finish home at the near post.
Osasuna complained of a foul in the buildup by Andreas Christensen, but it was far from clear.
“It’s evident for me [and] whether it’s by chance or not, these fouls always go the way of the same teams,” Osasuna captain David Garcia told Movistar. “I think overall we deserved more. I’m annoyed for everyone, the fans who came here, and those who could not come and stayed back home.”
Xavi brought on Pedri Gonzalez for his first appearance in nearly a month after injury and Joao Felix, who has fallen out of favor lately, but immediately forced a brilliant Herrera save at full stretch.
Osasuna failed to put Barcelona under enough pressure to find an equalizer and Yamal slotted home at the death after good work by Felix to set up tomorrow’s mouthwatering final.
“Every Clasico has its own story, we can’t predict many things, only that it will be an even game,” Xavi said.
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