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Barcelona vs Osasuna, Spanish Super Cup: Team News, Match Preview

Barça face a very tricky opponent looking to book a spot in the title game and defend their crown

FC Barcelona v Girona FC - LaLiga EA Sports Photo by Pedro Salado/Getty Images

FC Barcelona vs CA Osasuna


Competition/Round: 2024 Spanish Super Cup, Semi-Final 2

Barcelona Outs & Doubts: Marc-André ter Stegen, Gavi, Marcos Alonso (out), Pedri, João Cancelo, Iñigo Martínez (doubt)

Osasuna Outs & Doubts: Johan Mojica (doubt)

Date/Time: Thursday, January 11, 2024, 10pm AST (local time), 8pm CET/WAT (Barcelona & Nigeria), 7pm GMT (UK), 2pm ET, 11am PT (USA), 12.30am IST (India, Friday)

Venue: Al-Awwal Park Stadium, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia

Referee: Alejandro Muñiz Ruiz

VAR: Carlos Del Cerro Grande

How to watch on TV: ESPN 2 (USA), Startimes World Football (Nigeria), Movistar (Spain), others

How to watch online: ESPN+ (USA), Movistar+ (Spain), FanCode (India), others


Following a hard-fought Copa del Rey win against fourth tier Barbastro at the weekend, Barcelona have made the long trip to the Middle East for this year’s edition of the Spanish Super Cup as the defending La Liga champions take on last season’s Cup runners-up Osasuna on Thursday’s second semi-final at the Al-Awwal Park Stadium in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.

Real Madrid beat Atlético Madrid in a semi-final for the ages on Wednesday and now await the winner of Thursday’s clash for what will either be a repeat of last season’s Copa del Rey Final against Osasuna or another El Clásico in a rematch of the 2023 Supercopa Final against Barça.

That 2023 Super Cup title game was one of the highlights of last season for the Blaugrana, with a dominant win over their biggest rivals in a game that gave Xavi Hernández his favorite starting XI and tactics that would build the foundation for a comfortable La Liga title run.

It was also that victory over Madrid that started a seven-week period of breathtaking football, with some of the most beautiful stuff the Catalans had played in virtually half a decade. They were destroying everyone in front of them before injuries and a painful Europa League exit against Manchester United derailed what could have been a great finish to last season, but it’s easy to forget just how well Barça played in January and February of 2023 beginning with that special Clásico victory.

But in order to set up another Clásico and give themselves a chance to defend their Supercopa crown and maybe start another great run, Barça must overcome the big obstacle that is Osasuna. And as crazy as it may sound, beating Osasuna might be tougher than beating Real Madrid. The team from Pamplona have been a thorn on Barça’s side for several seasons now, and even though they haven’t beaten the Blaugrana in 12 years they have almost always found a way to play highly competitive, extremely close matches despite the gap in talent.

Osasuna don’t get a chance to play for trophies very often, and after a heartbreaking Cup Final loss last season they are hungry for another shot at Real Madrid and already know they are more than capable of causing Barça enough problems to give themselves a real chance to finally win this time. They are healthy and having a solid season in the league, and it took Barça a Robert Lewandowski penalty in the 85th minute to beat an Osasuna side that outplayed them for the entire game when these two first met last September.

This will be tough, physical and very competitive, and Barça are not even close to their best. This is Osasuna’s best chance to beat the Blaugrana in literally a decade, and this game means everything to them. If Barça aren’t ready for war from the start, they’ll go home three days earlier than expected.

Let’s dance.


POSSIBLE LINEUPS

Barcelona (4-3-3): Peña; Kounde, Araujo, Christensen, Balde; Roberto, De Jong, Gündogan; Raphinha, Lewandowski, Ferran

Osasuna (4-2-3-1): Herrera; Areso, García, Catena, Peña; Moncayola, Torró; Arnáiz, Aimar, Gómez; Budimir


PREDICTION

Osasuna and Barça always play close games, and the importance of this one makes it even more certain this will be hard-fought and low-scoring: 1-0 Barça.

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