Osasuna win to boost survival hopes
Osasuna pulled themselves out of La Liga's relegation zone with a deserved win 1-0 over an oddly lacklustre Valencia.
The hosts were by far the better team in the opening stages and, though they could not maintain their high level all the way through, Alvaro Cejudo's shot deflected off Marius Stankevicius after 59 minutes to hand them three vital points. The victory takes them out of the drop zone, with Getafe replacing them in the bottom three.
Osasuna were quicker out of the blocks against a Valencia team perhaps feeling the after-effects of their 6-3 mauling by Real Madrid last time out. In the fifth minute, Francisco Punal's outswinging corner found Lolo, who headed powerfully goalwards from eight yards, but Vicente Guaita produced an acrobatic save to tip the ball over.
Guaita was called into action again seven minutes later as Javier Camunas worked a chance for himself with a neat bit of skill to take the ball past Ricardo Costa. Camunas stabbed the ball towards goal, but Guaita saved with his foot, before scrambling the ball clear with Kike Sola advancing.
Cejudo had a decent chance seven minutes before the break, but dragged the ball wide of the left post. Soon after, in Valencia's most dangerous moment of the half, Juan Mata's cross swung dangerously across goal but Roberto Soldado appeared to pull out rather than throw himself at the ball.
Chances remained at a premium after the break with Joaquin Sanchez firing wide for Valencia after 57 minutes. Two minutes later, though, Osasuna were deservedly ahead - though in fortuitous circumstances. Cejudo's left-foot shot from 25 yards was harmless enough, but it hit the back of Marius Stankevicius and deflected into the opposite corner, leaving Guaita with no chance.
There were few opportunities for either side after that, though Mata sliced a decent chance over after 79 minutes. The loss means Valencia's third place is now under threat, with Villarreal, who beat who beat Getafe, three points behind, although Los Che have the additional buffer of a superior head-to-head record.