Saul strikes as Atletico scrape win at Osasuna


Saul Niguez's cool finish made the difference for Atletico Madrid as they held on to fourth place with a narrow 1-0 win at Osasuna on Sunday in La Liga.

Diego Simeone's side cut the gap on Real Sociedad in third, to four points, before the Basques visit second place Real Madrid later Sunday.

Out of the Champions League and Copa del Rey, and 13 points behind La Liga leaders Barcelona, Champions League qualification is Atletico's key goal in the second half of the season.

The Rojiblancos were left fuming after their quarter-final cup elimination in midweek, unhappy with the refereeing, but had nothing to complain about as they snatched victory at El Sadar.

Atletico took the lead after 74 minutes against the run of play, through midfielder Saul, on as a substitute.

The Spaniard is no longer a key figure for Simeone but timed a run well to reach Rodrigo De Paul's lobbed pass and finish clinically.

"(Saul) is a home-grown player who works so hard, everyone knows what he feels for the club, and he knows that this goal is very important for us," De Paul told Movistar.

"They are three vital points."

Osasuna had the better of the first half, with on-loan Barcelona winger Ez Abde offering a pacy outlet down the left.

Neither side were able to carve out a clear chance before the break, but the game soon opened up.

Jan Oblak made a superb save to deny Moi Gomez after an hour, after the midfielder burst into the box to fire Abde's cross towards goal.

The Slovenian stopper then needed to palm a deflected, dipping drive from Diego Moreno over the bar.

With Osasuna on top, De Paul fed Saul to sucker-punch them at the other end.

The 28-year-old spent last season on loan at Chelsea where he was a peripheral figure, and he is behind youngster Pablo Barrios in the pecking order this season at Atletico, with the goal a welcome morale boost.

Antoine Griezmann should have sealed Atletico's win but took a heavy touch when through on goal and then Aitor Fernandez saved the French striker's lofted effort.

Oblak tipped over another effort from Jon Moncayola as Atletico took all three points back to the capital.

Simeone believes his team bounced back well from the team's Copa del Rey elimination by Madrid.

"We have a way of thinking and working, and the club has a way of living that is to never give up, and always get up in the face of adverse situations," the Argentine coach told Movistar.

"There is no greater motivation than playing for Atletico Madrid."



More Related News

UEFA launch probe into Barcelona refereeing scandal
UEFA launch probe into Barcelona refereeing scandal

European football's governing body UEFA said on Thursday it was launching an investigation into claims Barcelona paid for favourable refereeing decisions.La Liga president Javier Tebas has previously said Barcelona faced no immediate danger because the governing bodies of Spanish, European and world football all have five-year statutes of limitations.

UEFA to investigate Barcelona for its referee payments
UEFA to investigate Barcelona for its referee payments

Barcelona is facing a new legal threat from UEFA, including a possible Champions League ban, because of its payments of millions of dollars to a company linked to a Spanish refereeing official. Champions League regulations in effect since April 2007 allow UEFA to ban teams from the competition for one season if they were involved in fixing matches.

NBA's 3D Virtual Reality Looks Like a Game-Changer for Younger Fans

Today's guest columnist is Rick Burton of Syracuse University. "This is cool." "Oh my God." "What just happened?" Those were only a handful of phrases I heard from my Syracuse sport management students the night of Feb. 27 while meeting at the school's Bird Library to watch the Knicks-Celtics game via Xtadium's immersive 180-degree virtual […]

Next Tottenham manager: The men who could replace Antonio Conte
Next Tottenham manager: The men who could replace Antonio Conte

Antonio Conte's time at Tottenham Hotspur is expected to come to an end later this week.

Reiten goal gives Chelsea advantage against Lyon in Women
Reiten goal gives Chelsea advantage against Lyon in Women's Champions League

Norwegian international Guro Reiten's first-half goal gave Chelsea a 1-0 win away to holders Lyon in France in the first leg of their Women's Champions League quarter-final tie on Wednesday."A 1-0 win at the home of the reigning champions to take into the second leg, I can't ask for any more," said Hayes.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked with *

Cancel reply


Top News: Soccer