‘Osasuna were impeccable’

Javi Gracia has lavished praise upon his Osasuna side after they clinched a vital 2-1 win over Almeria on Friday.

Goals from Oriol Riera and Alejandro Arribas put Osasuna 2-0 up shortly after the half-hour mark but Fernando Soriano pulled a goal back with 17 minutes to play.

Almeria were reduced to 10 men in the final seconds of the tie as Rafita was sent off for picking up two yellow cards – both during stoppage time.

Gracia admitted at a post-match Press conference that he wasn’t certain of the win until the final whistle was blown, but he was delighted with his team’s performance.

“I lived with a lot of nerves because until the end, they could have equalised,” he told reporters.

“The uncertainty of winning 2-0 then 2-1 has pushed our defence close to our goal but gave us options on the counter against an opponent who was coming forward.”

Gracia felt however that Osasuna deserved to take three points.

“We were well established in the game, controlled our opponents offensive strengths and we were dangerous with our attacks,” he added.

“We knew the importance of the match. The team’s work has been impeccable.

“They’re all tired and light-headed after a great effort and a valuable reward.

“But I’ve started thinking about Real Valladolid, another final.”

The win has sent Osasuna three points clear of both Almeria and Valladolid, who prior to Saturday’s fixtures occupy two of the three relegation places.

Tags Javi Gracia