First Division - Day 5

Barcelona 2 - Osasuna 2

Barcelona: Víctor Valdés; Puyol, De Boer, Fernando Navarro; Mendieta, Xavi (Riquelme 46'), Cocu, Motta (Gabri 70'); Saviola (Gerard 75'), Luis Enrique; Kluivert. 3-4-2-1.
Osasuna: Sanzol; Mateo, Cruchaga, Josetxo, Antonio López; Pablo García, Puñal; Rivero (Alfredo 87'), Iván Rosado (Muñoz 90'), Gancedo; Aloisi (De Carlos 88'). 4-2-3-1.

Team changes: Barcelona: No change / Osasuna: Sanzol, Mateo, Josetxo, Aloisi for Unzué, Yanguas, Vidrio, Paqui.

0-1. 02. Rivero. First time shot after Cocu deflected Rosado cross to him.
1-1. 38. Motta. Drilled ball into net after defence failed to clear Mendieta cross.
1-2. 45. Gancedo. Diving header after Rosado shot ballooned off Fernando.
2-2. 45+2. Kluivert. Glancing near post header from Motta's centre.

Barcelona were caught out by a struggling Osasuna, who took a vital point away from the Nou Camp that could easily have been three. With the worst goals-against record in the league, visiting manager Javier Aguirre decided to change his defensive line up, leaving out keeper Unzué and defenders Vidrio and Paqui, plus the injured Yanguas. That allowed him to bring Antonio López out of midfield to left back and fit in an extra forward John Aloisi, a show of bravado not normally seen in Barcelona's home territory.

His adventurous ploy paid off though straight from the kick off, and Aloisi pressured Cocu enough in the first attack for him to fail to clear cleanly. The ball fell loose in the area, and before anyone could react, Rivero ran on to shoot high past Víctor Valdés into the roof of the net.

Barça were looking off colour, not a surprise as the same line up had played seven consecutive games, including long trips to Turkey and Russia. Frank De Boer was let off the hook by the referee, who turned down Osasuna's appeals for a second yellow card after a hard tackle, and Kluivert was the only ray of light as the team had difficulties stringing their passes together.

Eventually though they found a way through, Motta forcing the ball through a crowded defence past Sanzol after Mendieta's cross was cut out. But a few minutes later the visitors were back in front, Gancedo first to react when an Iván Rosado cross ballooned off Navarro, diving forward to head past Víctor.

Coming on the stroke of half time the goal seemed to be a big blow, but before the referee could blow his whistle for half time Barça raced up the other end and equalised again, Kluivert getting on the end of Motta's cross to glance the ball into the net.

Even so Van Gaal was not happy, and the manager brought on Riquelme in place of Xavi at the break. But although their play improved they could not get the goal they needed, and Osasuna almost went home with all the spoils when Aloisi crashed the ball against the woodwork late in the half.

The fans showed their disappointment, and although undefeated, Barça find themselves already five points adrift of the leaders in eighth place. Osasuna are still in the bottom three, but at least they have taken a step in the right direction. .