Goals from Barcelona’s late teenage talents weren’t enough to save Xavi Hernández’s side from another disappointment Sunday after a late goal gave Osasuna a 2-2 draw in the Spanish league.
Barcelona led 2-1 after 19-year-old Nico González and Abde Ezzalzouli scored their first goals since joining the club’s junior ranks this season.
Nico received a pass from Gavi Páez, a player two years his junior, to overtake Barcelona in the 12th minute at the El Sadar Stadium. Osasuna’s David García tied with a header two minutes later. Abde swept a cross from Ousmane Dembelé in the 49th minute.
But substitute Chimy Ávila tied Osasuna with four minutes remaining with a long-distance shot that entered after touching Samuel Umtiti, who played his first minutes this season with Barcelona as a surprise inclusion in Xavi’s starting line-up.
Nico, Abde and Gavi are part of a group of young players, together with the injured Pedri González, who are bringing the only positive side to a terrible campaign for Barcelona.
“Luckily we have our young players because they are supporting the team. They are making an extraordinary effort, ”said Xavi. “We have to keep growing, but it will be difficult to get out of this routine. We need a favorable outcome. We had this victory and we let it slip away. “
Barcelona have only won once away from home in the league this season, following the departure of Lionel Messi.
Barcelona is in eighth place, 15 points behind leader Real Madrid, who host defending champion Atlético de Madrid on Sunday afternoon.
The draw in Osasuna came after the consecutive defeats of Barcelona. They had lost 1-0 at home to Real Betis in the league before falling 3-0 at Bayern Munich to exit the Champions League in the group stage for the first time in 17 years.
Barcelona were playing without injured top scorer Memphis Depay.
Xavi made his debut in the final minutes against 22-year-old Ferran Jutglà.
Real Betis maintained their impressive run to the top of the table after beating Real Sociedad 4-0 to stay in third place just one point behind rival Sevilla in second place.
Manuel Pellegrini’s dizzying attack has won four in a row in the league by a combined score of 11-1.
Left-back Álex Moreno scored twice and helped Juanmi Jiménez to score his 10th league goal of the season and his sixth in the last four games. Nabil Fekir contributed another goal.
The League’s third consecutive defeat in the League left it in fifth place.
Also on Sunday, Villarreal beat Rayo Vallecano 2-0 at home.