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Barcelona Bounce Back with Narrow Win Over Osasuna in Xavi’s Shadow

Barcelona edged past Osasuna 1-0 in La Liga on Wednesday, securing a much-needed victory in their first match since coach Xavi Hernández announced his departure at the end of the season.

Young Brazilian forward Vitor Roque stole the show, grabbing his first goal for the club just minutes after coming off the bench. His 63rd-minute header, expertly directed from a João Cancelo cross, proved to be the decisive moment.

The win arrived amidst a period of uncertainty for Barcelona following Xavi’s announcement. The Catalans had endured a string of disappointing results, including a 5-3 home defeat to Villarreal and a Copa del Rey exit at the hands of Athletic Bilbao. Xavi hoped his decision would alleviate pressure and galvanize the team.

“I made my decision to achieve this, to get the team to react,” Xavi said after the match. “I knew that if the players could give an extra 1 percent, they would. And the fans were superb. We need unity.”

While the performance wasn’t entirely convincing, Barcelona did benefit from Osasuna playing with 10 men from the 67th minute after Unai Garcia’s red card. The numerical advantage helped them control the game and secure the three points.

The victory moves Barcelona back within eight points of league leaders Girona, with Real Madrid also in the title race just seven points ahead. Madrid can retake the lead with a win against Getafe on Thursday.

For Osasuna, the defeat puts a dent in their recent resurgence, having won two of their last three league matches. They remain comfortably placed in 12th position.

While the win provides temporary relief for Barcelona, questions remain about their future direction under Xavi’s successor. Yet, Roque’s emergence offers a ray of hope, suggesting that exciting young talent might be the key to reigniting the Blaugrana fire.