Missed opportunities but one point gained
Saturday March 13th, 2021
Estadio El Sadar, Pamplona, Spain
REAL VALLADOLID 0
The chance to move ahead of their opponents passed Real Valladolid by in a balanced match at El Sadar which could have seen either side sneak a win by the smallest of margins. In a high energy encounter, the balance of play tipped back and forth but neither side were able to capitalise on their opportunities. Fabián Orellana had two good chances in the second half but was wasteful in front of goal, ensuring the match finished in a stalemate.
Jagoba Arrasate made two changes from the side who lost 2-0 to Barcelona at this venue last week. They started the match with top-scorer Ante Budimir up front alongside Jonathan Calleri. The Croatian striker, who had bagged six league goals, flirted with joining Pucela in the summer from relegated Mallorca before opting for a move to Pamplona. Darko Brasanac was restored to the line-up having missed Osasuna’s last two matches. Rubén García – who played as a forward against Barcelona – reprised his left-wing role and Kike Barja swapped to the opposite side.
Real Valladolid manager Sergio kept the same eleven and group of substitutes who had ground out their first victory in nine matches against Getafe last week. The 2-1 win over José Bordalás’ Azulones was their first since beating the same team on January 2nd.
A pulsating opening ten minutes demonstrated the energy and desire possessed by both teams, fitting of a meeting between two teams so close in the league and desperate to separate themselves from the chasing pack. It was fast, physical, fluid, free-flowing football.
Weissman was first to threaten for Real Valladolid, gathering Orellana’s ball over the top into the box and controlling well, sandwiched between Aridane and David García. The Israeli went to ground claiming for a penalty as he tried to shoot, but referee Ricardo De Burgos immediately dismissed his pleas.
The match was being fought in midfield with plenty of physical challenges being dished out by both sides, which gave a limited number of opportunities on goal. Los Rojillos did get the ball into the net nine minutes before half-time through Calleri, after Vidal had rolled a nice ball into the box from the right. The forward calmly slotted home, but strike partner Budimir was in an offside position in front of Roberto and stepped over the ball to allow it to find the net. The flag was immediately raised and, despite the protestations of the Osasuna players, the decision stood.
One final opportunity came the visitors’ way before the break; Weissman controlled in the box from El-Yamiq’s long throw, but his effort lacked any venom and was gathered easily by Herrera.
With possession remaining almost equal throughout the first 45 minutes, there was no surprise that the teams went into the dressing rooms with the score level.
Osasuna began the second period of play on the front foot, fashioning several encouraging moves forward but each lacked the cutting edge in the final phase.
Having weathered the hosts’ onslaught, Real Valladolid began to chip away at finding the breakthrough. Guardiola – who delivered a cross for Orellana’s assist for Plano’s goal last week – provided another chance for his side, sliding a ball across the face of goal from the left which left three defenders flat-footed but Weissman, at full stretch, was inches away from connecting.
Stand-in captain Plano tested Herrera, but the goalkeeper got down well to his left-hand side to halt the progress of a skimming shot which was heading for the inside of his far post.
The visitors’ best chance of the second half fell to Orellana on 65 minutes, but he failed to hit the target. Guardiola and Janko had combined well with a neat interchange which sent the Swiss full-back bombing down the right flank. He played it into the feet of Weissman and the striker held off Nacho Vidal to tee up Orellana. After struggling for several months since his summer arrival, the Chilean had improved in recent weeks but he swept his first-time effort wide left and really should have done better.
As Pucela piled on the pressure, Mesa joined the list of players trying to make an impact on the scoreboard. El-Yamiq surfaced in an advanced position and rolled the ball into the midfielder’s feet. The ex-Sevilla man skirted the edge of the area and curled a right-footed effort agonisingly to the left of Herrera’s right post, scraping inches wide.
As he had done minutes earlier, Orellana squandered another chance when it looked easier to test the goalkeeper. Janko’s cross grazed the head of Weissman who leapt for ball shoulder-to-shoulder with Aridane and it dropped into the lap of the winger but – after controlling with his right – his shot from close-range blew high over the bar.
El-Yamiq continued to show the commitment needed in a physical battle, but it began to take its toll on him. After Real Valladolid conceded a corner, the Moroccan stayed down before being helped off for treatment. Sergio tried to make a change for the set-piece, but Señor De Burgos allowed the hosts to proceed with the temporary man advantage. Substitute Jony swung the ball in, and Mesa headed clear but only as far as the corner taker. He delivered a cross-cum-shot which had Roberto scrambling back towards his goal and punching clear from an unorthodox position.
After absorbing Pucela’s advances, a stark reminder that a single goal could prove to be the winner came when Jony sent in a cross from the left which found fellow replacement Javi Martínez. His shot into a forest of bodies in the box was deflected and almost found Budimir at the back post but he could not react quick enough to stab home.
Sergio took Mesa off in favour of Míchel, and Kenan Kodro replaced Weissman in a double swap with 11 minutes remaining. Minutes later, El-Yamiq – who had given his all but was clearly in some continuing discomfort – made way for Bruno.
Their last chance came as Joaquín headed over Herrera’s goal from Orellana’s corner with three minutes to play, but it was Osasuna who made the final threats as time ebbed away. A neat flick backwards in the box from Manu Sánchez allowed Martínez to shoot from an angle, but Roberto dived down right to help it out for a corner at the base of his post. In the final moments of stoppage time, Budimir had one final effort; taking Martínez’s cross and turning well but, with Bruno in close attendance, he too fired high and the match ended in an honourable draw.
Although the chance to jump ahead of their opponents in the table was missed, there were certainly positives to be gleaned from the contest. El Sadar has been a difficult place to visit for Real Valladolid and their record against Osasuna away from home was less than respectable. A point is valuable in their bid to outrun the wolves of relegation and it was a clean sheet to cap off a much-improved defensive showing. However, a lack of clinical finishing from players such as Orellana and Weissman may prove to play a part in the story of eventual survival.
Osasuna’s next match is away Huesca, bottom in the table going into this round of fixtures, while Real Valladolid will now spend the week preparing for the visit of Sevilla, having not beaten the Andalucian side since 2012 and drawing their previous two meetings.
OSASUNA (4-4-2): Sergio Herrera; Manu Sánchez, David García (Capt.), Aridane, Nacho Vidal, Rubén García (Jony 70’), Jon Moncayola (Javi Martínez 86’), Darko Brasanac (Lucas Torro 70’), Enrique Barja, Ante Budimir, Jonathan Calleri (Adrián López 77’).
Subs unused: Juán Pérez, Iñaki Álvarez; Juan Cruz, Jonas Ramalho, Enric Gallego.
REAL VALLADOLID (4-4-2): Roberto; Lucas Olaza, Jawad El-Yamiq (Bruno 85’), Joaquin, Saidy Janko, Fabián Orellana, Rubén Alcaraz, Roque Mesa (Míchel 79’), Óscar Plano (Capt.) (Luis Pérez 95’), Sergi Guardiola, Shon Weissman (Kenan Kodro 79’).
Subs unused: Jordi Masip; Javi Sánchez, Nacho, Kike Pérez, Toni Villa, Fede San Emeterio, Waldo, Jota.