Barcelona defeated Osasuna 2-0 on Thursday, setting up a replay of the Spanish Super Cup final Clasico between Robert Lewandowski and Lamine Yamal.
The Catalans defeated Real Madrid in last year’s final and will meet them again. Los Blancos defeated Atletico Madrid in an eight-goal thriller in the first semi-final in Saudi Arabia on Sunday.
“We want to take the ball off Madrid, that’s our DNA, we’re hugely motivated, it’s the moment to show our best football,” Xavi told reporters after the game.
“We’re in another final, another Clasico, which was our main objective — we didn’t play a brilliant game, but a serious, sensible one.”
Sergio Herrera, goalkeeper for Osasuna, held Barcelona at bay until Ilkay Gundogan sent veteran attacker Lewandowski in to open the opener just before the hour mark.
The 35-year-old has been inconsistent this season, but he finished brilliantly to give his club the lead.
Yamal, 16, scored his first goal since October in stoppage time to give Barcelona the win.
Defeating Real Madrid in the Super Cup final last season won Xavi Hernandez his first trophy as coach and set up the Spanish champions advantageously for their league championship challenge.
The teams will meet again in Riyadh’s Al-Awwal Park stadium, with Barcelona looking to kick-start their season after a poor start.
Barcelona’s win against Osasuna was their first by more than a single goal since September, when they were on a losing streak.
“It’s true that we haven’t won by more than a goal in a long time, but that doesn’t matter; it’s about winning, playing well, and we played a solid game,” Barcelona player Frenkie de Jong told Movistar.
“We have to improve, we are improving — it’s a new team this year with a lot of changes, and it takes time to get better.”
“(You need time) to get used to your team-mates, and we’ve had a lot of injuries too, we’re in that process and there’s a final against Madrid, it’s great, two top level teams.”
14-time Super Cup champions Barcelona fought Jagoba Arrasate’s team in the first half, finishing runners-up in last season’s Copa del Rey final against Real Madrid and competing in the tournament for the first time.
The great majority of Saudi fans supported Barcelona, but there was a small group of Osasuna fans who roared after Herrera deflected Gundogan’s free-kick.
When Lewandowski was well situated to score, he headed wide, and Barcelona goalkeeper Inaki Pena produced a fantastic stop from Ante Budimir five minutes before the interval.
Raphinha got injured for Barcelona and was replaced by Yamal, who instantly threatened with his quickness and incisive ball that Lewandowski was unable to convert.
‘We deserved better.’
After Gundogan found him with a brilliant move, Lewandowski scored in the 59th minute. The Polish striker brought the ball into the area and finished at the near post.
Andreas Christensen committed a foul in the build-up, which Osasuna said was not apparent.
“Whether it’s by chance or not, these fouls always go the way of the same teams,” Osasuna captain David Garcia told Movistar.
“I think overall we deserved more, I’m annoyed for everyone, the fans who came here and those who could not come and stayed back home.”
Xavi introduced Pedri Gonzalez, who had not played in over a month due to injury, and Joao Felix, who had fallen out of favor recently but forced a spectacular Herrera stop at full stretch.
Osasuna failed to apply enough pressure on Barcelona to find an equalizer, as Yamal tapped home at the death following superb work by Felix to set up Sunday’s mouthwatering final.
“Every Clasico has its own story, we can’t predict many things, only that it will be an even game,” he said.