First Division - Day 23

Osasuna 0 - Alavés 1

Osasuna: Nuno; Cruchaga, Vidakovic, Iban Pérez; Alfonso, Alex Fernández, Llorens (Sabino 73'); Alfredo, Lekumberri (Gancedo 46'); Iván Rosado (Angel Luis 82'), Armentano. 3-3-2-2.
Alavés: Herrera; Contra, Sarriegi, Eggen, Téllez, Ibon Begoña; Desio, Tomic, Azkoitia (Pablo 55'); Magno (Iván Alonso 77'), Javi Moreno (Jordi Cruyff 70'). 5-3-2.

Team changes: Osasuna: Cruchaga, Armentano for Jusué, Palacios / Alavés: Sarriegi, Ibon Begoña, Azkoitia, Magno for Geli, Pablo, Astudillo, Jordi Cruyff.

0-1. 68. Magno. Took pass from Desio on left of area, beat defender and scored.

Alavés sank their local rivals Osasuna even further into the mire with a laboured one goal victory at the El Sadar stadium in Pamplona which takes the Vitoria based side back up to eighth. It was a typical Basque derby, with both teams lining up a five man defence and not giving an inch to the opposing side, a game played between men of iron forged in the industrial north of Spain. Well, all except the twelve foreigners and one or two born outside the Basque country that is, but even they seem to be chosen by the clubs to fit in to their style of play. The difference between the two teams was apparent though, the Alavés squad containing what the Osasuna side lacks, a couple of players with the ability to turn matches by themselves.

This time it was Brazilian Magno who made the breakthrough, taking a pass from Desio and beating Nuno halfway through the second half to give Alavés their first win away from home in seven games. Magno was one of four changes by Mané, with one eye on next Thursday's return UEFA cup leg at Inter Milan, youngster Sarriegi coming in to a three man central defence and Ibon Begoña replacing the suspended Geli. Their 3-3 draw against the Italian side on Thursday after being two goals down inspired the players, and for once they were able to get a result after their European heroics. Osasuna fall to their fourth defeat in a row and are now firmly ensconced at the bottom of the table, with only Racing Santander anywhere near them. Their manager Miguel Angel Lotina was criticised by the crowd, especially when he brought on Angel Luis near the end rather than the more creative Oscar Arpón, and although club president Javier Miranda has promised him that he will offer him a new contract if he keeps them in the first division, a couple more results like this one could change his mind.