Atletico Madrid strengthened their hold on a top four spot after claiming victory in a 1-0 win over Osasuna in La Liga.
The first half contained few clear cut chances. Antoine Griezmann, who has been involved in nine of Atletico Madrid’s last 13 goals in La Liga, had a chance to put his side ahead early on with a 25-yard free-kick, but his poor attempt hit the wall.
Abdessamad Ezzalzouli looked lively for the hosts on the left-hand side, but the front three overall struggled to test Jan Oblak.
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The visitors upped the urgency in the second half, but still struggled to open up Osasuna fully.
The hosts also came close to scoring in the half, with a Chimy Avila header skimming the top of the crossbar in the 56th minute.
Moments after a crucial Oblak save from Diego Moreno’s long-range effort, Rodrigo de Paul’s ball from over the top found Saul in the 74th minute, who took advantage of the hosts poor off-side trap. The Spaniard managed to bring the ball down, sped towards goal, and drilled a low shot to give his side the lead.
Once Atletico had scored, the hosts looked lethargic with the ball. However a Jon Moncayola goal looked to be in the cards, with the ball dropping to the substitute in added time. His long-range powerful effort was sailing on target, but Oblak just managed to tip it over the cross bar to secure the win.
Up next, Osasuna will take on Espanyol, while Atletico Madrid will host Getafe.
TALKING POINT: THE FIGHT FOR A EUROPEAN SPOT
Atletico Madrid lost their chance of silverware after losing to Real Madrid in the quarter-finals of the Copa del Rey quarter-final on Thursday, so it’s now full focus on securing a Champions League spot for next season. This win against Osasuna means that they remain in fourth with 34 points. Villarreal, who sit fifth, have a game in hand, and are set to play tomorrow, but all Diego Simeone’s side can do is focus on themselves, and ensure that they don’t drop any crucial points.
The loss for Osasuna means they remain in seventh, three points off of a Europa Conference League spot. They played well today, but Jagoba Arrasate’s team selection today did not work as well as it could have. He might need to tweak the front line if his side want a chance at a European showing next year.
PLAYER OF THE MATCH: JAN OBLAK
Jan Oblak has often gone under the radar as one of Europe’s best goalkeepers, but he proved to be a match winner tonight, with crucial saves at 0-0, and a tip over the bar in the final moments of the match. He may not have been called upon often, but with four saves, he’s managed his seventh clean sheet in 17 La Liga matches.
Atletico Madrid’s Slovenian goalkeeper Jan Oblak (Top) deflects the ball during the Spanish league football match between CA Osasuna and Club Atletico de Madrid at El Sadar stadium in Pamplona on January 29, 2023.
Image credit: Getty Images
OSASUNA: Aitor Fernandez 7, Manu Sanchez 7, David Garcia 6, Aridane Hernandez 7, Diego Moreno 6, Moi Gomez 7, Lucas Torro 6, Pablo Ibanez 6, Abdessamad Ezzalzouli 7, Chimy Avila 6, Ruben Garcia 6… SUBS: Jon Moncayola 7, Darko Brasanac 6, Ante Budimir 6, Kike Garcia 6, Kike Barja 6.
ATLETICO MADRID: Jan Oblak 8, Reinildo 7, Mario Hermoso 7, Jose Gimenez 7, Nahuel Molina 6, Thomas Lemar 6, Rodrigo de Paul 7, Koke 6, Pablo Barrios 6, Antoine Griezmann 7, Angel Correa 6… SUBS: Saul 7, Alvaro Morata 6, Yannick Carrasco 6, Geoffrey Kondogbia N/A, Axel Witsel N/A.
38′ – SCRAMBLE IN FRONT OF GOAL! Not sure how the ball has not gone in here. Atleti’s throw in leads to a chance right in front of goal, but Griezmann can’t sort out his feet. The ball bounces around a bit before it’s crossed to De Paul, whose header is off target. A clear missed opportunity for the visitors!
56′ – HUGE CHANCE FOR THE HOSTS! Atleti clear a Osasuna free-kick, but only as far as Moreno, who crosses it back in. Avila gets his head on it, but the shot is just over the crossbar! WOW!
72′ – SAVE: Strong hands from Oblak who tips over a powerful shot from Moreno, which was deflected. Big moment there to keep it all level!
74′ – GOAL! OSASUNA 0-1 ATLETICO MADRID: A great run from Saul means De Paul finds him with a ball from over the top. It’s poor from the Osasuna defenders who keep him onside, and he manages to bring the ball down, and score.
90+2′ – WHAT A SAVE! Oblak tips over Moncayola’s shot over the bar and what a crucial moment that might be.
- Atletico Madrid have scored seven goals via subs in La Liga this season, only Barcelona (9) and Girona (8) have scored more.
- Osasuna now have a record of W0, D1, L6 when conceding the opening goal in La Liga this season.
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