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European roundup: Barcelona close in on top spot with win over Osasuna

Barcelona continued their excellent run of domestic form by beating Osasuna 2-0 away from home on Saturday, with Lionel Messi setting up goals scored by Jordi Alba and the teenager Ilaix Moriba. The win moves them to within two points of the La Liga leaders, Atlético Madrid, albeit having played two games more.

Messi helped Barça take the lead on the half-hour mark when he carved open Osasuna’s defence with a superb cross-field ball to Alba, who controlled well before blasting into the roof of the net. He then laid the ball off when the 18-year-old midfielder Ilaix struck in the 83rd minute, producing a confident finish inside the post from outside the area to score his first goal for the club in only his third league appearance.

Barcelona had taken a while to settle into things at the beginning of the match, and nearly went behind in the second minute when their goalkeeper, Marc-André ter Stegen, made the first of three impressive saves. The German had to scurry back to stop an audacious attempt from Osasuna’s Jonathan Calleri, who went for goal from his own half. He also made an outstanding save to deny Kike Barja later in the first period, flying to his top right hand corner and throwing up his left hand to swat the ball away.

With the visitors then leading through Alba, Ter Stegen rescued the visitors for a third time, denying the midfielder Rubén García from close range. The victory was Barcelona’s 13th league win in 16 games, while they are unbeaten since losing at Cádiz on 5 December.

Sevilla had earlier missed the chance to close on the top three after they suffered a 2-1 defeat at relegation-battlers Elche, who moved out of the bottom three as a result. The defeat was Sevilla’s third in a row in La Liga.

In Italy, two goals from Álvaro Morata helped Juventus come from behind to beat Lazio 3-1 in Serie A, closing the gap on the leaders, Internazionale, to seven points.

Joaquín Correa capitalised on an underhit backpass from Juve’s Dejan Kulusevski before finishing well to give the visitors a surprise 14th-minute lead. With Cristiano Ronaldo on the bench, the champions struggled to create any real openings until Adrien Rabiot scored a rare Serie A goal, firing into the roof of the net from a tight angle six minutes before the break.

Sergej Milinkovic-Savic almost put Lazio back ahead but was denied by the crossbar, and Juve capitalised by edging ahead through a fine Morata finish in the 57th minute. Three minutes later Morata scored from the penalty spot after Aaron Ramsey had been fouled.

A third defeat in four league games has damaged Lazio’s hopes of a top-four finish; they are now in seventh place, six points behind fourth-placed Atalanta.

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In Germany Bayern Munich beat Borussia Dortmund 4-2 thanks to a hat-trick from Robert Lewandowski that kept them two points clear at the top of the Bundesliga. Earlier Leipzig had moved temporarily above Bayern with a 3-0 win at Freiburg, which was a sixth straight Bundesliga victory for Julian Nagelsmann’s side.

Third-placed Wolfsburg slipped to an unexpected 2-1 defeat at Hoffenheim, where they finished with 10 men due to the sending off of their substitute Paulo Otávio for denying a clear goalscoring opportunity. Elsewhere Hertha Berlin finally secured a first Bundesliga win in 10 matches as they came from behind to beat Augsburg 2-1.

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