Ferran Torres scored twice and Ousmane Dembele added two assists as Barcelona ran rampant with three goals in the opening 30 minutes to cruise to a 4-0 win over Osasuna at the Camp Nou on Sunday.

The result, Barcelona’s fourth league win in a row, moved them back into third place in LaLiga, above Atletico Madrid and Real Betis, as the Catalans’ sharp resurgence under Xavi continued apace.

And the sparkling performance, which also featured goals from Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and substitute Riqui Puig, added to a celebratory day at the Camp Nou. Barcelona’s women’s team paraded the freshly clinched Primera Division trophy ahead of kick-off and Gerard Pique took his place in the starting lineup for his 600th appearance for the club.

It was a perfect response, too, after Barcelona were left frustrated at being held scoreless at home to Galatasaray in the first leg of their Europa League last 16 tie on Thursday.

Three days on, it took just 14 minutes for them to break the deadlock. Midfielder Gavi created the opportunity as he burst between defenders in an attempt to reach a through ball into the box but was bundled over by Nacho Vidal, for the start of what was a chastening first half for the Osasuna defender.

Referee Ricardo De Burgos Bengoetxea had little hesitation in pointing to the penalty spot and Torres sent Osasuna goalkeeper Sergio Herrera the wrong way to put Barcelona on their way.

Just seven minutes later Barcelona, and Torres, had their second. Dembele this time took centre stage, cutting inside on his left foot before threading a wonderful through ball for Torres. Driving in from the left flank, the former Manchester City forward calmly placed his shot through Herrera’s legs.

“I’m really happy that we won and are rising,” Torres told reporters afterward. “Our objective is to keep climbing in the standings and keep improving game by game.”

At this point, the new-look Barcelona attack was really purring and, after such a bleak start to the season, the Camp Nou crowd was fully enjoying what they were watching.

The newest addition to the Barca front line soon got in on the act. Again Dembele was the creator, making the most of the space afforded him on the right to send in a cross that Aubameyang beat his marker to at the near post to stretch and find the net.

That glut of first-half goals allowed Barcelona to take their foot off the gas in the second half ahead of a big week for the club. After their return match against Galatasaray in midweek, Barcelona will visit the Bernabeu for a meeting with Clasico rivals and LaLiga leaders Real Madrid next Sunday.

But they still supplied enough attacking thrust to give the home crowd one of its loudest cheers of the night. La Masia graduate Puig made the most of some rare minutes off the bench to follow up his own saved shot before rounding the goalkeeper, steadying himself and finding the net to cap a perfect evening for Xavi’s men.

Still, asked about the importance of Sunday’s El Clasico, Xavi insisted that cutting Real Madrid’s 12-point lead over Barcelona remained a long shot.

“I don’t think the league is possible this season, Real Madrid is too far ahead,” he said. “We need to keep winning and they have to lose three or four games, it’s not realistic.”


Courtesy: ESPN

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