Barcelona looks to bounce back in Spanish League
MADRID - Agence France-Presse
Barcelona’s defender Gerard Pique (3L) celebrates with his teammates after scoring during the Spanish Cup quarterfinal second leg match at Malaga. AFP photoTop of the league Barcelona face struggling Osasuna at home on Sunday bidding to bounce back from a first league defeat of the season, 3-2 at Real Sociedad, last Saturday. Barca's record breaking first-half of the season, which saw them drop only two points, means Tito Vilanova's side sit eight ahead of Atletico Madrid in second with Real Madrid a further seven points back in third.
However, last weekend's set-back saw the Catalans lose a two-goal lead in San Sebastian and it should serve as a wake up call with 18 league games still to play.
Despite that defeat, Barcelona showed in midweek that there was no long-term damage when they beat Malaga 4-2 in the Spanish Cup quarter-finals to set-up a semi-final clash with Real Madrid.
Both Madrid sides won their games last Sunday to cut the deficit at the top, but have lost key players, Iker Casillas for Real and Radamel Falcao for Atletico, in the past week.
Barca will themselves be without new father Gerard Pique on Sunday after his red card against Sociedad.
Osasuna forward Nino believes his side will be full of confidence after a 2-1 win over Deportivo last Sunday that saw the Pamplona-based side move off the bottom of the table.
"Wins give you the confidence for the day-to-day and then the game on Sunday. We work hard to win and you feel better when you achieve that. We all know the situation is difficult but we will try not to give anything away at Barcelona," he said. "We know it won't be easy but any point would help us out, so we'll be giving it our best."