Barca two factors behind Atleti after Osasuna win

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Barcelona defeated Osasuna and improved their La Liga lead by two points. Juan Manuel Serrano Arce / Getty Images

Barcelona continued their rampant run of domestic form to beat Osasuna 2-0 away on Saturday and are within two points of La Liga leaders Atletico Madrid. Lionel Messi has scored goals from Jordi Alba and teenage Ilaix Moriba.

Messi helped Barca take the lead after half an hour when he slashed Osasuna's defense with an excellent cross-field ball for Alba, who controlled before shooting into the top of the net.

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He then put the ball down as 18-year-old midfielder Ilaix Moriba scored in the 83rd minute and scored a confident score inside the post from outside the box, only to score his first goal for the club in his third league game.

The win followed Barca's heroic comeback win in the second leg against Sevilla to advance to the Copa del Rey final on Wednesday, scooping their 13th league win in 16 games, while they have been unbeaten since their December 5 loss in Cadiz.

The Catalans remain second, but after 26 games they scored 56 points, two points behind Atletico Madrid, who played 24 games and will host third-placed Real Madrid on Sunday. Osasuna is 13th on 28th

Perhaps Barca were still feeling the effects of the 3-0 win over Sevilla after extra time. They were spared thanks to the first of three impressive parades by Marc-Andre ter Stegen.

The German had to rush back to stop a bold attempt by Osasuna's Jonathan Calleri, who scored from his own half. He also made a really stellar save to deny Kike Barja later in the first period, flying to his upper right corner and throwing up his left hand to knock the ball away.

When Barca then led through Alba's vicious goal, Ter Stegen rescued the guests for the third time, playing midfielder Ruben Garcia from close range.

Barcelona are next in action on Wednesday as they attempt to break a 4-0 deficit in the Champions League round of 16 against Paris Saint-Germain.

Meanwhile, Osasuna, who remain in 13th place with the defeat, will host Valladolid n La Liga next Saturday.

Reuters was used in this report.

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