Barcelona, Spain, Nov 29 (efe-epa).- Barcelona crushed Osasuna 4-0 in the ninth week of La Liga action on Sunday at Camp Nou, the stands once again empty due to coronavirus gathering restrictions, and paid homage to Argentine soccer icon Diego Maradona on the 121st anniversary of the club’s founding.
Leo Messi, also from Argentina, dedicated the goal he scored late in the match, a left-footed blast that went right by visiting goaltender Sergio Herrera, to Maradona.
Maradona – who played two seasons (1982-1984) for the Catalonian club, not to mention one season for Sevilla, as well as seven fabulous seasons at Italy’s Napoli – died at age 60 last Wednesday.
Messi, who finally had his scoring chance in the 73rd minute in what proved to be the last tally of the match, celebrated the feat by throwing his arms up and gazing skyward, then removing his Barca shirt revealing a red-and-black Newell’s Old Boys jersey underneath with Maradona’s No. 10. Maradona played one season for Newell’s, and the Barca captain wears the same No. 10 as his deceased compatriot.
Before the game commenced, the club held a tribute to Maradona at which team members bowed their heads and observed a minute of silence, huge images of the soccer legend were displayed on the screens in the stadium, where flags flew at half mast, and the club played cellist Pablo Casals’ “The Song of the Birds” as the two teams stood around the centre circle watching as a Maradona jersey was placed on the center spot.
The first goal of the match came at minute 30, when Braithwaite managed to finesse a rebound into the twine after Herrera saved a shot by Coutinho.
Next, it was Griezmann in the 42nd minute firing a scorching bazooka shot from outside the area that got by the staring Herrera.
After the break, it was Griezmann on the scene again assisting Coutinho, who nicely eased the ball into the net in the 57th minute and Messi rounded out the score 16 minutes later for the 4-0 victory.
Barcelona: Ter Stegen; Dest (Junior, min.61), Mingueza, Lenglet (Aleña, min.67), Jordi Alba; De Jong, Pedri (Sergio Busquets, min.46); Braithwaite, Messi, Coutinho (Dembele, min.61); and Braithwaite (Trincao, min.61).
Osasuna: Sergio Herrera; Nacho Vidal, Unai Garcia, Raul Navas, Roncaglia, Jony (Juan Cruz, min.23); Iñigo Perez (Roberto Torres, min.63), Oier (Darko, min.64), Moncayola; Ruben Garcia (Barja, min.74) and Budimir (Enric Gallego, min.74).
Referee: Mateu Lahoz delivered a yellow card to Messi in the 76th minute.