First Division - Day 30

Deportivo 2 - Osasuna 1

Deportivo: Molina; Scaloni, César, Helder, Capdevila; Víctor (Fernando 77'), Emerson, Mauro Silva, Fran (Valerón 55'); Makaay, Diego Tristán (Pandiani 52'). 4-4-2.
Osasuna: Sanzol; Yanguas (Trzeciak 75'), Cruchaga, Jusué, Iban Pérez (Armentano 88'), Llorens; Gerardo, Alex Fernández, Gancedo; Angel Luis (Alfonso 65'), Iván Rosado. 5-3-2.

Team changes: Depor: Scaloni, Helder, Capdevila, Emerson, Mauro Silva, Víctor, Diego Tristán for Manuel Pablo, Naybet, Romero, Donato, Valerón, Djalminha, Pandiani / Osasuna: Sanzol, Alex Fernández, Angel Luis for Nuno, Vidakovic, Trzeciak.

0-1. 24. Iván Rosado. Took loose ball on edge of area and shot low into net.
1-1. 51. Makaay. Headed into top of net after far post cross from Fran on left.
2-1. 86. Fernando. Looping header back over keeper from Makaay cross on right.

Deportivo came from behind to beat relegation candidates Osasuna and keep up the pressure on Real Madrid. With four players missing for disciplinary reasons Irureta's team virtually picked itself, although the manager made a couple more changes himself, reserving key players for the vital Tuesday night Champions League clash with Leeds United. This time though the rotation system didn't work, and with seven changes and a new formation they lost their way in the first half. Alex Fernández, back in the Osasuna side after a one match suspension gave the first warning sides bringing a good save out of Molina early on, and Iván Rosado went close three times as the visitors pinned the league champions back in their own half.

Then Rosado finally found the way through after Molina stopped a first effort from Angel Luis, picking up the loose ball on the edge of the area and taking it wide of the stranded keeper before shooting in to the empty net from the edge of the penalty area. That finally woke Deportivo up, and with Víctor making headway down the right wing, Sanzol was tested for the first time, the reserve keeper saving a shot from Makaay and a diving header from Diego Tristán. Sanzol was only in the side as first choice Nuno's loan contract didn't allow him to play against his original club, but he was to put in a strong claim for a place in the side with a brilliant display in the second half.

He could do nothing though soon after the interval when Makaay levelled the score with a slightly fortunate header, Fran's cross from the left taking a high bounce which the Dutch striker read well to head into the roof of the net. Irureta decided to make a couple of changes anyway after the goal to reserve players for Tuesday's match, bringing on fresh legs in the form of Valerón and Pandiani for Fran and Tristán. In doing so he saved his club 300 million Pesetas, for a week or so at least, Tristán's transfer from Mallorca last summer containing a bump-up clause for that amount if the young striker were to score 15 goals in the league (he has 14 so far).

Osasuna still flirted with the idea of a victory and Gerardo and then Alex went close. But then Lotina played safe, taking off Angel Luis to bring on another midfielder Alfonso. Sanzol saved spectacularly from two efforts by Pandiani, the second an acrobatic overhead kick, and Scaloni also brushed the bar as Deportivo smelled blood. And then just when it looked as if Osasuna would hold on for their fourth match in a row without defeat, substitute Fernando celebrated his return to the side with a late goal, his looping header from Makaay's cross rather fortunately going over Sanzol's head into the back of the net. Deportivo were off the hook and open up a five point gap over their immediate followers Valencia and Mallorca. In doing so they set a new club record of 25 home league games without defeat, one of the reasons why they are currently in second place. Osasuna drop back down to next to bottom, and with Barcelona and Real Madrid to come next they must be ruing the dropped point.