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Football: Villarreal Champions League Push Held Up By Osasuna

Posted on: January 25, 2009

MADRID : Villarreal’s Champions League hopes suffered a setback as they dropped two more points in a 1-1 home draw with lowly Osasuna on Saturday.

Giuseppe Rossi struck on 28 minutes to put Villarreal in front at El Madrigal and they looked set to climb to fourth in the table until Osasuna levelled through Eduardo Dady in the 64th minute.

It was a repeat of the 1-1 draw between the two sides in Pamplona and Villarreal stay fifth, four points behind Real Madrid and Sevilla who both have a game in hand.

For Osasuna it was an important point in their survival battle.

They have moved off the foot of the table at Real Mallorca’s expense but are still six points from safety.

Osasuna had been boosted by the presence of Juanfran who had his second yellow card against Real – harshly awarded for diving – rescinded in midweek.

Villarreal were without Nihat through injury but Rossi is a more than capable deputy and accepted a neat pass from Santiago Cazorla to open the scoring.

Czech winger Jaroslav Plasil forced a fine save from Diego Lopez in the second half before Dady equalised to frustrate the hosts.

League leaders Barcelona host Numancia at Camp Nou later on Saturday aiming to open up a 15-point gap over Real and Sevilla.

Numancia are the only team to defeat Barcelona in the league this season – triumphing 1-0 on the opening day – and could do with a memorable double to boost their survival hopes.

Barcelona have won 16 out of the following 18 games since that Numancia loss and are not expected to get turned over again.

“The feeling is that we already have the three points in the bag and there is a real possibility that the same thing could happen again that happened in the first game if we think like that,” warned Barcelona manager Pep Guardiola.

Real host Deportivo La Coruna on Sunday searching for a fifth straight win against a team that defeated them 2-1 on the opening day.

Real coach Juande Ramos has been impressed by Deportivo this season claiming they could become a magnificent team if they continue progressing.

“Deportivo were an excellent team that reached the Champions League semi-finals (in 2004), but the current squad is young and under construction,” said Ramos.

“They’ve made some interesting changes recently and I believe that they could become a magnificent team if they carry on playing like this.”

Valencia can pull three points clear of Villarreal on Sunday when they take on struggling Mallorca.

Valencia have been busy in the transfer market this week recruiting 37-year-old goalkeeper Cesar Sanchez from Tottenham as cover for the injured Renan Brito.

“I am like a 17 or 18-year-old and I have a real desire to help out,” said Sanchez. “This shirt comes with a certain responsibility.”

– AFP /ls

Channel News Asia

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Football: Villarreal Champions League Push Held Up By Osasuna

Posted on: January 25, 2009

MADRID : Villarreal’s Champions League hopes suffered a setback as they dropped two more points in a 1-1 home draw with lowly Osasuna on Saturday.

Giuseppe Rossi struck on 28 minutes to put Villarreal in front at El Madrigal and they looked set to climb to fourth in the table until Osasuna levelled through Eduardo Dady in the 64th minute.

It was a repeat of the 1-1 draw between the two sides in Pamplona and Villarreal stay fifth, four points behind Real Madrid and Sevilla who both have a game in hand.

For Osasuna it was an important point in their survival battle.

They have moved off the foot of the table at Real Mallorca’s expense but are still six points from safety.

Osasuna had been boosted by the presence of Juanfran who had his second yellow card against Real – harshly awarded for diving – rescinded in midweek.

Villarreal were without Nihat through injury but Rossi is a more than capable deputy and accepted a neat pass from Santiago Cazorla to open the scoring.

Czech winger Jaroslav Plasil forced a fine save from Diego Lopez in the second half before Dady equalised to frustrate the hosts.

League leaders Barcelona host Numancia at Camp Nou later on Saturday aiming to open up a 15-point gap over Real and Sevilla.

Numancia are the only team to defeat Barcelona in the league this season – triumphing 1-0 on the opening day – and could do with a memorable double to boost their survival hopes.

Barcelona have won 16 out of the following 18 games since that Numancia loss and are not expected to get turned over again.

“The feeling is that we already have the three points in the bag and there is a real possibility that the same thing could happen again that happened in the first game if we think like that,” warned Barcelona manager Pep Guardiola.

Real host Deportivo La Coruna on Sunday searching for a fifth straight win against a team that defeated them 2-1 on the opening day.

Real coach Juande Ramos has been impressed by Deportivo this season claiming they could become a magnificent team if they continue progressing.

“Deportivo were an excellent team that reached the Champions League semi-finals (in 2004), but the current squad is young and under construction,” said Ramos.

“They’ve made some interesting changes recently and I believe that they could become a magnificent team if they carry on playing like this.”

Valencia can pull three points clear of Villarreal on Sunday when they take on struggling Mallorca.

Valencia have been busy in the transfer market this week recruiting 37-year-old goalkeeper Cesar Sanchez from Tottenham as cover for the injured Renan Brito.

“I am like a 17 or 18-year-old and I have a real desire to help out,” said Sanchez. “This shirt comes with a certain responsibility.”

– AFP /ls

Channel News Asia

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