Barcelona on brink of title win after Madrid loss

·2-min read

Jordi Alba has earned Barcelona a late 1-0 win against a defiant 10-man Osasuna at Camp Nou.

The substitute tucked a low finish past Aitor Fernandez at the near post in the closing stages to keep the Blaugrana on the march to the title.

It delivered crucial relief for Xavi's side after they had largely failed to make the most out of an extra body against the visitors, following Jorge Herrando's 26th-minute red card.

Tuesday's win gave Barcelona a 14-point lead over second-place Real Madrid, who later lost 2-0 at Real Sociedad. The combination of results means that the Catalan club can clinch the title as early as next weekend.

"It was a very big step for us, but we suffered too much, wasted too many clear chances to score," Barcelona coach Xavi said.

Both Madrid and Osasuna are focused on Saturday's Copa del Rey final between the clubs in Seville. Madrid are also in the semi-finals of the Champions League against Manchester City, with the first leg taking place in Madrid on May 9.

An otherwise tepid game burst into life shortly before the half-hour mark when Osasuna debutant Herrando brought down Pedri as the last man.

With their man advantage, the hosts stepped up their attempts to find an opener with Ousmane Dembele firing wide just after the hour mark.

Robert Lewandowski looked to have finally made the breakthrough with less than a quarter-hour left, only for Ferran Torres to be flagged offside.

But Alba was there to net the winner in the 85th minute, slotting a neat strike between Fernandez and the post to send the home crowd into raptures.

Barcelona last won the league in 2019 to cap a run that included eight league titles in 11 seasons. That was the team's last league trophy with Lionel Messi, who left in 2021 amid the club's financial struggles to join PSG.

Sociedad strengthened their hold on fourth place and the final Champions League spot, enjoying an eight-point gap to fifth-placed Villarreal after victory over Madrid.

Former Madrid player Takefusa Kubo scored in the 47th and Ander Barrenetxea added another goal on 85 minutes in San Sebastian.

Madrid played a man down from the 61st after defender Dani Carvajal was issued a second yellow card. The defending champions are now just two points ahead of city rivals Atletico, who play Cadiz on Wednesday.

Elsewhere, Almeria moved away from the drop zone with a 2-1 win over bottom club Elche, who were relegated.