Osasuna 1-4 Real Madrid: 3 reasons why Los Blancos won the match | La Liga 2019-20
Osasuna invited Real Madrid to the Estadio El Sadar this evening where the visitors - who currently sit at the top of La Liga - were expected to take all three points home, and they did not disappoint.
Osasuna have been on a hard-working streak in recent weeks, which saw them pick up a three-match unbeaten streak prior to their game against Villarreal. They were seen as the underdogs in the discussions leading to today's game, and they had a potential opportunity to take salvage a draw, but alas, Madrid had other intentions.
The Spanish giants are now on a five-match winning streak in the La Liga, and they have lost just one game since the start of the season. They stepped onto El Sadar with nearly all available key players in the starting eleven, clearly intent on consolidating their position at the top in contrast to a struggling Barcelona outfit. Oddly, it took Los Blancos some time to find their rhythm and hold onto the ball, and that came with a small price, as Osasuna took the lead early on.
After managing to stave off the visitors and attack for a lengthy spell, Osasuna were rewarded with a corner kick which led to a deftly-taken header by Unai Garcia. The Los Rojillos centre-back was unmarked in the area, and he was on hand to power a beautiful header past Thibaut Courtois.
Perhaps that was the beginning of Osasuna's downfall, as they sat back and refrained from attacking in a bid to defend their opening goal. Madrid smelled blood in the water, took advantage of the laidback Osasuna side, and retaliated with an equalizer 33 minutes in.
An attacking movement saw Gareth Bale's shot blocked, and the ball landed graciously for Isco who wasted no time in powering a shot beyond Sergio Herrera and into the goal.
The Madridistas weren't done just yet. Five minutes later, it was Madrid defender Sergio Ramos who added his name to the scoresheet. A corner for Real saw Casemiro head it towards an unmarked Ramos, who had little to do than power his header into the net.
Much of the second half saw an awakened Osasuna side, and Madrid found it quite difficult to retain possession. Los Blancos' front three hardly saw time on the ball, and eventually Isco and Gareth Bale were substituted off for Vicinius Junior and Lucas Vasquez, respectively.
That brought some life into the depleting Madrid side, and Zinedine Zidane was awarded almost immediately for his tactical substitutions. While Osasuna remained unable to break down a strong Madrid defence, it was Lucas Vazquez on the other end who drilled in Madrid's third goal of the game.
Much of it was thanks to Karim Benzema, who's presence had been a thorn in Osasuna's side for many minutes. He laid the ball from the edge of the area to Vazquez, who laces it below the keeper and into the net.
It seems like Madrid is settled, but Zidane makes a late substitution in the dying minutes that lead to yet another goal. Benzema comes off for Luka Jovic who powered a volley into the top-right corner just four minutes after he joined the game.
With these results, Madrid continue to outpace Barcelona in the title run, while Osasuna remain in mid-table obscurity.
WIthout further ado, let us look at three reasons why Madrid won the game:
#3 Osasuna failed to keep their momentum going
The hosts started the game powerfully. They hounded Madrid for the ball, held onto possession, drove into the final third with precision, and scored the opening goal early on in the game. They essentially had the game in their hands, but they saw the first goal as a reason to settle, and it came back to seriously bite them.
Playing against an especially strong team like Real Madrid is the only reason needed to keep the momentum going, and Osasuna failed to realize this. By the time they had regrouped and prepared to fight in the second half, it was already too late.
#2 Real Madrid have highly clinical players
Osasuna had fourteen shots at goal with only four on target, and they scored one. Madrid fared much better with seventeen shots at goal, seven on target, and they scored four.
Osasuna struggled to get shots past Thibaut Courtois and wasted many chances, but Madrid effectively made it count time and time again in front of goal. They stood head and shoulders above the Osasuna attack, and showed them how to finish repeatedly.
Notably, Bale and Benzema had eight shots between them, but managed only one on target. They would have Sergio Ramos, as well as the substitutes, to thank for silencing the home fans.
#1 Zinedine Zidane deserves some accolades for his substitutions
With the French manager clearly intent on seeing the game through, he substituted his entire strike force and got positive results almost immediately. Lucas Vazquez came on for Gareth Bale and found the net in stunning fashion, while Luka Jovic came on for Karim Benzema and delighted the visiting fans with a beautiful volley.
The tired Osasuna defence were clearly no match for the young, energetic strikers, and they failed to hold the younsters down at crucial moments. Osasuna looked like they would equalize earlier in the second half, but Zidane's options put their hopes to rest in entertaining fashion.Published 10 Feb 2020, 00:20 IST