Madrid, April 27 (IANS) FC Barcelona enjoyed their most placid 90 minutes of football this season as they cruised past bottom of the table Osasuna 7-1 in the Camp Nou Stadium to remain top of the Liga Santander.
While Barca have the title at stake, Osasuna went into the game on Wednesday night knowing a defeat coupled with a win for Leganes at home to Las Palmas would seal their return to the second division after just one season, reports Xinhua news agency.
Nevertheless they barely got a sniff of the ball against a much-changed Barcelona starting 11 in the first half in which Barca enjoyed 75 percent of possession.
Andre Gomez, Arda Turan, Denis Suarez and Lucas Digne all started for Barca, but the league leaders quickly took control of the game and Leo Messi opened the scoring in the 12th minute when he intercepted a loose ball from Fausto Tienza before advancing an clipping the ball over Salvatore Sirigu in the visitors’ goal.
He fired over soon afterwards, but with Barca in total control against a rival that was chasing shadows, the second goal was only a question of time. It came after corner was played to Ivan Rakitic, whose low cross was stroked home by Gomez for his second league goal of the campaign.
A Roberto Torres free kick pulled Osasuna back into the game four minutes after the break, but Barca reacted quickly. Javier Mascherano saw a header pushed onto the post, but Gomes soon made it 3-1, rifling home a rebound after Pique had hit the post.
That was the first of four goals in a ten minutes spell as Messi quickly scored his second of the night with a curling shot from outside the area.
Paco Alcacer then clipped the ball over Sirigu to make it 5-1, before a needless foul on Denis Suarez allowed Mascherano to score his first ever goal for Barca after seven seasons at the club.
There was still time for Alcacer to make it 7-1 as he rounded Sirigu with four minutes remaining to round off an easy night’s work for Barcelona.