Barcelona’s title hopes fade with Osasuna defeat

Barcelona’s La Liga title hopes took a serious setback on Saturday after they crashed to a 3-2 defeat at Osasuna. Two first-half goals from Dejan Lekic put Osasuna in the driving seat before Alexis Sanchez pulled one back for Barca five minutes after the restart.

But Osasuna quickly restored a two-goal cushion when Raul Garcia netted in the 56th minute.

Substitute Cristian Tello scored Barca’s second in the 73rd minute but they couldn’t manufacture an equalizer.

Real Madrid can now extend their lead at the top of the table to 10 points if they beat Levante on Sunday.

“We will see what happens. But we are a significant distance behind which I guess will increase on Sunday. The league will be more difficult for us now,” Barcelona coach Pep Guardiola said, AFP reported.

“In the second half tonight we did well on this pitch but we should have done better in the first half. It was hard for us to get into this game but we have to congratulate Osasuna,” he added, AFP reported.

Atletico Madrid moved up to sixth place with a 0-0 draw at relegation-threatened Racing Santander, while Athletic Bilbaolost 2-1 away to Real Betis.

Ruben Castro put Betis ahead after 10 minutes but Bilbao drew level 12 minutes later when Javi Martinez headed home from a corner.

Jefferson Montero and Castro both hit the woodwork either side of the break as pressure mounted on Bilbao’s defenses. This only intensified when goalscorer Martinez was sent off for his second bookable offence in the 64th minute.

Betis’ reward eventually came as full-back Nelson fired home from 25 years in injury time to claim all three points.

Meanwhile in Serie A, AC Milan came back from a goal down to beat Udinese 2-1 on Saturday to return to the top of the table.

Antonio Di Natale gave fourth-placed Udinese the lead in the 19th minute which they held onto until the final minutes of the match.

Argentine striker Maxi Lopez equalized 13 minutes from time before 19-year-old Stephan El Shaarawy scored the winning goal in the 85th minute thus ending Udinese’s unbeaten home record this season.

Milan is now two points ahead of Juventus, whose game against Bologna on Sunday has been postponed due to snow.

In Saturday’s other match, Cagliari moved up to ninth with a 2-1 win over Palermo.

 Source: CNN

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