With just one win in the last ten encounters travelling to Pamplona was proving to be notoriously difficult, but tonight we finally got a win against Los Rojillos, after a hat-trick from backup striker Diego Costa sent us on our way to a 3-2 victory.
It took a while for the match to really take off in the rainy conditions at the Reyno de Navarra stadium, but after fifteen minutes the home side started to put some decent attacks together. The first warning came from Kike Sola but his shot was comfortably saved by De Gea.
Osasuna were causing a lot of trouble on our left wing; Antonio López and Raúl García struggled to contain Nélson and Cejudo. In the 15th minute the right winger skipped past López with a nice flick and crossed the ball to Soriano, who was kept out brilliantly by David de Gea. First he stopped the striker’s volley, before blocking the rebound and ultimately he got his body behind Soriano’s cross to complete a triplet of saves.
After thirty minutes of play it seemed Osasuna were certain to open the scoring, but Soriano shot wide after a brilliant run from Nélson on the right side.
However, seconds later the ball was in the back of the net. Cedujo once again was allowed to deliver a first-time ball into the box and Kike Sola arrived before Godín and smashed in the first goal of the match, which Osasuna fully deserved.
Atlético struck back surprisingly quick. Tiago won the ball inside his own box and found Juanfran, who then played a majestic through-ball to Diego Costa, who beat an onrushing Ricardo to strike the ball into the back of the Pamplonans’ net.
The Brazilian was the best Atlético player in the first half and made some great runs in behind Osasuna’s defence, and it was in the 37th minute that his hard work finally paid off.
Shortly after the half time interval, it was De Gea who once again prevented his team from falling behind, when he made a spectacular save from a Soriano header.
In the 54th minute referee Fernández Borbalán controversially decided not to send off Monreal after he seemingly brought down Juanfran when the right winger was through on goal. The referee argued that Juanfran tripped himself and waved to play on.
Atlético grew into the match in the second half and almost took the lead when Antonio López delivered an inch-perfect cross, but Reyes fired straight at Ricardo from only a couple yards out.
With Atleti pressing forward, the Osasuna defenders started to make mistakes, which cost them two goals in the space of just three minutes. First Raúl García won the ball in midfield and released Diego Costa, who calmly slotted it past Ricardo and put Atlético into the lead.
And before Osasuna had time to recover, Costa had already completed his hat-trick. Mario Suárez put him through with yet another beautiful through-pass. Our striker’s movement proved to be too difficult to track as he scored his third goal through the legs of Ricardo.
Things seemed to get even worse for the home team when Reyes was rewarded a penalty shortly after. The Andalusian himself stepped up but saw his effort stopped saved by the Osasuna goalkeeper.
The Pamplonans refused to give up, and had a lifeline when Nekounam got a goal back via the penalty spot in the 80th minute. Tiago handled the ball as he jumped to defend a free-kick and can have very little complaints about the decision.
Osasuna’s hopes of a comeback were dented when centre-back Sergio elbowed Diego Costa and was shown a straight red card. There was a final opportunity to score for the home side, but Lekic shot wide of the target.
With today’s victory we’re only one point behind Espanyol in 6th place, although Athletic Bilbao could overtake us both with a win over Almería tomorrow. Next up for Atleti is a home match against Real Sociedad.
Line-up: De Gea; Ujfalusi, Perea, Godín, López; Juanfran (“83 Koke), Mario, Tiago, Raúl García; Reyes (“90 Assunção) and Diego Costa.
Goals: 1-0 Kike Sola (“31); 1-1 Diego Costa (“39); 1-2 Diego Costa (“60); 1-3 Diego Costa (“63); 2-3 Nekounam (p.k.)(“80)