Top of the league Barcelona faces struggling Osasuna at home on Sunday bidding to bounce back from a first Spanish League defeat of the season, 3-2 at Real Sociedad, last Saturday.

Barcelona’s record-breaking first-half of the season, which saw it drop only two points, means Tito Vilanova’s side sits eight ahead of Atletico Madrid in second with Real Madrid a further seven points back in third.

However, last weekend’s setback saw the Catalans lose a two-goal lead in San Sebastian and it should serve as a wake up call with 18 league games still to play.

Despite that defeat, Barcelona showed in midweek that there was no long-term damage when it beat Malaga 4-2 in the Spanish Cup quarterfinals to set up a semifinal clash with Real Madrid.

Both Madrid sides won their games last Sunday to cut the deficit at the top, but have lost key players, Iker Casillas for Real and Radamel Falcao for Atletico, in the past week.

Barcelona will be without new father Gerard Pique on Sunday after his red card against Sociedad.

Osasuna forward Nino believes his side will be full of confidence after a 2-1 win over Deportivo last Sunday that saw the Pamplona-based side move off the bottom of the table.

Atletico Madrid goes to Athletic Bilbao, also on Sunday, without top-scorer Falcao who picked up a muscle problem in his left thigh in Sunday’s win over Levante. — AFP

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