|First Division - Day 8|
Barcelona 3 - Osasuna 0
Víctor Valdés; Belletti (Edmilson 21'), Oleguer, Puyol,
Sylvinho; Xavi, Márquez, Deco (Van Bommel 38'); Messi, Eto'o (Giuly
82'), Ronaldinho. 4-3-3.
Team changes: Barça: Messi for Giuly / Osasuna: Cruchaga, Puñal, Muñoz, Valdo, Delporte for Cuéllar, David López, Marcelo Sosa, Moha, Romeo.
Joint leaders, Osasuna, failed to live up to their billing in Barcelona. The home side were keen to put this week's political controversies in the boardroom to rest. The messy 'Messigate' affair was also forgotten as the 18 year old Argentine-cum-Spaniard was given the chance to make the headlines on the pitch.
Messi looked the most likely to breach the Osasuna ranks in the first half. His header from a Deco cross rattled the crossbar after 25 minutes. Ten minutes later Messi made space for himself in the box and fired in a low shot which Ricardo blocked. Clavero was booked for using illegal methods to halt the inspired youngster.
Barça were forced to make two first half substitutions. Belletti and Deco were replaced by Edmilson and Van Bommel. It looked as if Barcelona would make the breakthrough just on half time. Ronaldinho found Eto'o but he was denied by a fine reflex save by the ex-Manchester United keeper Ricardo.
When the second half got underway Messi took only seconds to mesmerise Osasuna again. After a surging run he rounded Ricardo but Josetxo cleared off the line. Eto'o opened the scoring from the resulting corner. The manner of the goal was something of a surprise. Having defended so stoutly up to this point Osasuna switched off and allowed the Cameroon star a free header.
Five minutes later the game was all but over. Sylvinho raced forward from left back and combined with Ronaldinho. This time Ricardo could only palm the cross into the path of the deadly Eto'o who tucked the ball into the net.
The pressure was off Barça, leaving Messi and Ronaldinho free to entertain. The Brazilian beat Izquierdo twice on the left before Ricardo blocked his shot. Josetxo became the second player cautioned for a foul on Messi. The Argentine joined Josetxo in the book in strange circumstances. Messi was tripped in the box; it was the most convincing of Barça's three penalty claims in the second half. But Mr. Fernandez thought otherwise and booked the youngster for diving.
Giuly replaced Eto'o and made it three when he nipped in front of a hesitant defence. Osasuna looked out of sorts and may regret not attacking more when they were still in the game. The Pamplona side's best effort was a scooped shot from Valdo after 68 minutes, which was headed off the line. Even when Valdés had presented Milosevic with a gift the Serb could only return a weak chip into the arms of the relieved goalkeeper.