First Division - Day 18

Zaragoza 4 - Osasuna 2

Zaragoza: Juanmi; Cuartero, César Jiménez, Lanna, Rebosio; Toro Acuña, José Ignacio; Juanele (Garitano 73'), Montenegro (Jamelli 73'), Vellisca; Esnaider. 4-2-3-1.
Osasuna: Nuno; Yanguas, Aitor Ocio, Vidakovic, Mateo, Llorens; Alex (Gancedo 55'), Alfredo, Lekumberri (Angel Luis 73'); Armentano (Sabino 55'), Iván Rosado. 5-3-2.

Team changes: Zaragoza: Cuartero, César for Aguado, Sundgren / Osasuna: Vidakovic for Cruchaga.

1-0. 08. César. Headed down into net from Acuña free kick from right.
2-0. 16. José Ignacio. Took lofted pass on left area to beat keeper.
3-0. 24. Juanele. Half hit shot from edge of area after Esnaider headed back.
3-1. 30. Alfredo. Shot over keeper into roof of net from outside area.
3-2. 35. Iván Rosado. Header after Alex free kick came over from right.
4-2. 59. Esnaider (penalty). After Llorens pushed down Juanele.

Not quite a derby this one, but a classic match which is back on the calendar with the return of Osasuna to the top level. And the capacity crowd were treated to a feast of football, with five goals in an action packed first half. With the entire back four on the injury list, Luis Costa was forced to cobble together a makeshift defence, with B team central defender César Jiménez making his debut. If the youngster had any pre-match nerves they were soon dissipated as he rose above the defence in the eighth minute to head his team into the lead, a dream start. Then Zaragoza scored two more also at eight minute intervals, with first José Ignacio getting his second goal in four days after a through ball from Montenegro, and then Juanele half-hitting a shot past Nuno after Esnaider headed back José Ignacio's high ball into the area.

Osasuna were reeling but they didn't give up, and within ten minutes that had pulled two back, Alfredo getting the first with a shot from outside of the area which took a slight deflection off César, and then Iván Rosado getting free of his marker to head home a free kick from Alex. Suddenly it was game on, and Armentano would have levelled the scores just before the break if Juanmi had not covered quickly. Lotina brought on his new signing Gancedo ten minutes into the second half together with Sabino, but before they could do anything Zaragoza were two in front again, Esnaider converting Zaragoza's first penalty in almost a year after Llorens pushed over Juanele. Gancedo's first contribution was to elbow José Ignacio in the face, but lucky for him referee Prados García was looking the other way and he got away with it.

Zaragoza eased off the gas and Osasuna tried their luck, with Sabino and then Llorens testing Juanmi. Iván Rosado got the ball in the net but Prados García awarded a free kick to the home side for offside, much to the forward's disgust, and at the other end Garitano hung on to the ball too long when presented with an easy chance. In the end the victory extended Zaragoza's unbeaten run to ten games, and after starting the season down at the bottom they are now sitting pretty in eleventh place. They are also doing well in the cup, with a first leg victory midweek at Murcia which should see them through to the quarter finals. Osasuna can be glad that the three bottom teams all lost, which means they stay just out of the drop zone for now, and if they can win their local derby with bottom club Real Sociedad next weekend they could start to move away from the danger zone.