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Barcelona defeats Osasuna to earn a crucial victory in La Liga, while Madrid loses to Real Sociedad

Barcelona defeated Osasuna 1-0 on Tuesday with a late goal from Jordi Alba, moving the Catalans one step closer to a first La Liga championship since 2019.

The team led by Xavi Hernandez increased its lead over Real Madrid, who fell to Real Sociedad 2-0, to 14 points.

As the visitors sat deep and attempted to frustrate the hosts Barcelona, debutant Jorge Herrando was dismissed from the game for a professional foul on Pedri.

The leaders were held at bay by the opposing goalkeeper in the second half, but replacement Alba, who has played less minutes this year, ultimately cut home a volley to steal a late win.

It's a huge step forward, but we'll have to wait and see, Xavi added.

“We endured too much pain. We passed up a few opportunities that were very obvious and easy to convert.

“And then Jordi scored, which sometimes makes winning that way better.”

While Barca started with the same team that defeated Real Betis at the weekend, Osasuna coach Jagoba Arrasate rotated his lineup heavily to give players a rest before the Copa del Rey final against Madrid on Saturday.

In the first half against their defensive opponents, the Catalans were unable to create many clear chances.

Pedri had the finest opportunity when left-back Alejandro Balde found him a few yards from goal, but he mishandled the ball and missed the target.

Before the halfway point, Herrando tackled Pedri as he advanced toward goal, reducing Osasuna to 10 men.

After 35 minutes, Xavi substituted Ansu Fati for Gavi, who appeared to have taken a knock. At the start of the second half, the forward nearly scored, but Fernandez stopped him.

– SAVING STRING –

When Pedri found Frenkie de Jong, he could have given Barcelona the lead, but he shot directly at the goalie from six yards out.

Barcelona's displeasure increased when Fernandez again stopped Fati, and replacement Ousmane Dembele missed a close-range attempt.

Robert Lewandowski, the leading scorer in La Liga, spent another uneventful night at work. The goal scored by the Polish attacker was disallowed due to offside.

Finally, with five minutes remaining, the breakthrough was made when substitute Alba volleyed home his second goal of the year after De Jong headed the ball into his path, setting off jubilant celebrations.

Barcelona will be crowned champions if they collect two more points from their last five games.

MADRID IS DEFEATED

Real Sociedad tightened their hold on fourth place and the Champions League by defeating Los Blancos with goals from former Madrid winger Takefusa Kubo and Ander Barrenetxea.

The situation for Los Blancos, who play Osasuna in the Copa del Rey final on Saturday, became worse when Madrid defender Dani Carvajal was dismissed after an hour for receiving a second yellow card.

It's not the ideal approach to be ready for games, according to Carlo Ancelotti, the Madrid coach.

“A loss always hurts, it reduces your energy and positive emotions, therefore it's not the ideal approach to be ready for what's next.

“There is clearly more on the players' minds; the Champions League semifinals and Copa final both have an impact.

“When your concentration is poor, you end up giving gifts.”

Due to injuries and bans, the Italian fielded a weakened lineup, while Karim Benzema was left in Madrid ahead of Saturday's cup final.

After Eder Militao lost the ball in a risky area, the hosts' Kubo scored to open the second half.

Madrid had an uphill battle when Carvajal was expelled for a foul on Real Sociedad striker Mikel Oyarzabal.

Thibaut Courtois, the goalkeeper for Madrid, did well to block a deflected Barrenetxea shot, but the attacker surprised the Belgian at his near post with his subsequent attempt.

Atletico Madrid, now in third position, may climb up to second if they defeat Cadiz on Wednesday.

Villarreal, who are in fifth place and have played one less game than Real Sociedad, are eight points behind them.

After losing 2-1 against Almeria, Elche, who was at the bottom of the standings, was demoted.

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