Pamplona, Dec 13 (IANS) There seems no end to the woes of Barcelona FC as they were denied three points on Sunday as Luis Avila scored a late equaliser as Osasuna held the Catalan team 2-2.
Avila scored in the 86th minute to claim one point at El Sadar, leaving Xavi’s side slipped to the eighth position while Osasuna remained at 10th position.
Following a disappointing week, the match against Osasuna was a promising opportunity for Barcelona to collect three important points, but despite taking the lead twice, they returned from Navarra with just one and have slipped down to eighth in the league table.
With many of his first-choice players out with injuries, manager Xavi included plenty of young players in the team. And the move proved successful as not one but two teenagers scored their very first goals for the club on a day that also saw Ferran Jutglà come on for his first-team debut.
The first of the two youngsters to score was Nico. A neat through ball from Gavi produced a goal from nowhere as the 19-year-old controlled the ball nicely and slotted home.
But the celebrations were short-lived. Xavi had warned his team before the game that one of the biggest dangers where Osasuna are concerned is dead ball situations. And Sunday’s encounter gave proof of that when David Garcia got his head on the end of a free-kick from the right — both the goals in the match coming 15 minutes into the game.
With Samuel Umititi getting his first game of the season and Luuk de Jong the lone striker, Barca certainly looked to be the side on top, but despite the relentless pace of the action, there was no further goal till halftime.
A few minutes after the restart, Osasuna were busy protesting a possible Sergio Busquets handball at one end of the pitch when the Catalans broke quickly and scored at the other. Ousmane Dembélé lofted the ball in and Ez Abde slotted it into the net to make it 2-1 for Barca.
The second teenager of the day had claimed his first goal for Barça… and at the same ground where both Ansu Fati and Ilaix Moriba also scored their maiden goals for the club.
Against a side that had only scored twice in their last seven games and had only won once at El Sadar all season, Barca looked good to collect three points.
But there was one final twist in the match as Osasuna made some quick attacks. Their insistence paid off in the 86th minute when Ávila drove in from the edge of the area.
It was a frustrating way for things to end and manager Xavi summed it up by saying that his team failed to kill the game.
“Leading 2-1 we should have kept hold’of the ball and we didn’t. We allowed ourselves to suffer too much. We should have killed the game and played the fo’tball in the op’osition’s half. We didn’t do that. Nothing was working,” Xavi said after the match.