Match preview: Osasuna vs. Atlético

Los Rojiblancos face a tough road challenge in Pamplona without Agüero

Tiago and Valera contain Masoud (

Tiago and Valera contain Masoud (

Atlético return to work a fortnight after their derby defeat when they travel to Pamplona to face off against Osasuna on Sunday evening.

The Reyno de Navarra stadium has been quite unfriendly to guests this season, so it will certainly be a tough challenge for Quique’s men to pick up the much-needed three points there.

Only Real Madrid have conceded fewer goals at home than Osasuna in the 2010-11 campaign, and Pamplona has been the site of a single home side loss this year, to Barcelona.

Atleti skipper Antonio Lopez, who called the Reyna de Navarra home for two seasons while there on loan from 2002 to 2004, is very familiar with the intensity Rojillo fans bring to their ground.

“It’s a very tough pitch, and all teams suffer there, but we’re ready,” Lopez told Atlético’s official site. “Even though we’re not playing poorly, the important thing is the points. We have to come out with at least the same intensity level as they do. With our quality, we know that we’re going to have scoring chances. We have to show our commitment at Reyno de Navarra.”

The left-back, who according to AS will likely start in place of Filipe Luis for this match, suggests that if his teammates aren’t convinced they can come out victorious, they “might as well stay at home.”

“We were asked to finish in the top four at the beginning of the season,” he said. “Now fourth place is very far. We all want to assure ourselves of qualifying for Europa League and not being in Europe next year would be a failure.”

Former Osasuna man Juanfran is also tipped to feature in this game, and is set to play on the right wing for his homecoming, as Reyes will reportedly replace Kun up top.

“I’m returning home and I have a tremendous desire to play,” Juanfran told the club’s official site. “We hope that everything goes well and that we can come back from Pamplona happy.”

Los Rojiblancos, who have only won two of their last ten games, will miss the presence and constant threat of star striker Sergio Aguero, suspended for this match after seeing a fifth yellow card against Real Madrid.

Fran Mérida will miss out because of a knee injury suffered in training days ago, and Juan Valera was left off the match selection due to tactical decision.

Osasuna have experienced an impressive surge in form since José Luis Mendilibar replaced Jose Antonio Camacho, sacked after los Rojillos’ away loss to Real Sociedad in mid-February.

Since Mendilibar’s arrival, Osasuna have won four out of six games, having lost once, and currently ride a three-game win streak.

Uruguayan striker Walter Pandiani will miss out for los Rojillos through tactical decision, and Rúper and Aranda are unavailable through injury.

Forlan scored twice against Osasuna back in mid-November to break his 12-game scoreless drought in a solid 3-0 triumph at the Calderón. Kun also added his name to the scoresheet in that shutout.

Atletico match selection:
Goalkeepers: De Gea, Joel
Defenders: Antonio López, Filipe Luis, Godín, Ujfalusi, Domínguez, Perea
Midfielders: Mario Suárez, Tiago, Raúl García, Elias, Paulo Assunção, Reyes, Juanfran, Koke
Forwards: Forlán, Diego Costa

Osasuna match selection:
Goalkeepers: Asier Riesgo, Ricardo
Defenders: Sergio, Damiá, Lolo, Miguel Flaño, Monreal, Nelson
Midfielders: Calleja, Camuñas, Cejudo, Vadócz, Masoud, Nekounam, Puñal, Soriano
Forwards: Lekic, Sola

Referee: David Fernández Borbalán

Don’t forget to head over to the AtléticoFans Prediction League to give us your prediction!

  • 7th

    they scaring me, osasuna, its gonna be hard for us.

  • They’re good at home Osasuna, the Basques, hopefully, Atléti will triumph;) And also I’d like to see Juanfran score:D
    Aupa Atléti!

  • Mert

    Miguel Angel de las Cueva!!! I remember him! scum 0 – 1 sporting

  • Mert

    cuevas rather

  • Heheh yep, they lost it…to Gijon…
    Should I laugh over the fact that Gijon beat the nomads at the Bernabeu, or should I cry over the fact that Atléti lost 4 derby games to the nomads?! How the hell did Gijon do this and Atléti didn’t?! Anyhow, good job…

  • NiñoTorres

    This will be a difficult game considering Osasuna’s form. Still, we went to Mendilibar’s Valladolid last season and won 4-0 without Kun, so you never know. Also we have won both games in Basque territory this season so fingers crossed!

  • palc

    Is there a possiblilty in bringing back De las Cuevas???

  • GaryMadrid

    I think there was last year but we let it run. He really didn’t do much at atleti. He was the type of player that needed a run of games and he never got them. The fans loved him and always called for Miguelito to come on but when he did,
    he never set the place alight but that is hard for any sub.