First Division - Day 4

Alavés 2 - Osasuna 0

Alavés: Herrera; Contra, Karmona, Eggen (Magno 60'), Téllez, Ibon Begoña (Geli 70'); Astudillo, Desio, Pablo; Jordi Cruyff, Javi Moreno (Iván Alonso 85'). 5-3-2.
Osasuna: Nuno; Mateo, Vidakovic, Yanguas (Arpón 75'), Cruchaga, Ibán Pérez; Alfredo (Alfonso 52'), Angel, Lekumberri; Sabino (Angel Luis 52'), Armentano. 5-3-2.

Team changes: Alavés: Eggen for Geli / Vidakovic, Alfredo, Lekumberri, Armentano for Alfonso, Alex, Palacios, Iván Rosado.

1-0. 73. Javi Moreno (penalty). Soft kick after foul by Lekumberri on Magno.
2-0. 91. Iván Alonso. Chipped keeper with first touch after pass from Pablo.

After 253 minutes of trying, Alavés finally scored at home this season. In their away matches they have kept up an amazing pace, scoring nine in the three matches to date, but in the Mendizorroza stadium they had lost their way to goal. When the goal finally came, it inevitably came from the penalty spot, with Javi Moreno getting his fifth of the season with a softly struck shot that sent Portuguese keeper Nuno the wrong way after Lekumberri was ruled by referee Mejuto González to have tripped second half substitute Magno. In fact the foul was less clear than three or four earlier occasions, the most blatant of which came just before the break when Yanguas blocked the ball with his hand as it was heading towards goal.

Up to the goal the match was a typical Basque derby, with both teams using five defenders who appeared to have been trained (or forged) in the steel mills of Bilbao. Mané had been keeping his cards close to his chest, but eventually revealed that his usual strike force Moreno and Cruyff would start this match after only coming on in the second half in their Thursday night UEFA cup match in Turkey, Osasuna's manager Miguel Angel Lotina brought in new signing Vidakovic, and made three more changes including Armentano in attack after his late goal as substitute last week.

Both keepers had a shaky start, dropping balls and missing crosses early on, but both recovered to make some vital saves later in the game. Osasuna's strength is in their tough but disciplined defence, and the Alavés forwards found it hard to breathe with every move closed down by two or three men. The three substitutes introduced by Mané gave new life to the game, with the home side switching to a 4-4-2 formation after Magno replaced Eggen, and Geli showing more flair than an off form Ibon Begoña. Javi Moreno was taken off to rousing applause from the fans, and Iván Alonso (apparently the cousin of Valencia's new signing?) came on to stake his claim for a place in the side with a sweetly hit shot for the second goal, lifting the ball with his first touch over Nuno from the edge of the penalty area. With this victory, Alavés move back up to the UEFA spots in sixth place, with Osasuna currently lying 14th.