12 January 2013
Real Madrid could not come away from the Reyno de Navarra with the win after a goalless draw against Osasuna in their third match in seven days. Jose Mourinho’s team is unbeaten in 2013 after a hard fought encounter in which they could not beat an opponent who pushed hard and for the third straight match they finished with ten men following the dismissal of Kaka for a second yellow card. The first half was dominated by the midfield battle, which meant that there were no shots on target, while in the second half there was more intensity and emotion than there was football, but the scoreboard remained unchanged. The referee disallowed a Callejon goal in the 78th minute for a dubious offside. Mourinho’s team need to turn the page and think about the first leg of the Copa del Rey tie against Valencia next Tuesday at the Santiago Bernabeu.
With Ronaldo, Ramos and Adan suspended and Pepe recovering from an ankle injury, Real Madrid took to the field with Varane, Coentrao, Albiol, Callejon, Di Maria and Higuain as the changes in the line-up from the last match against Celta. The first half was very even from the opening whistle, with much of the battle between the two sides in the midfield resulting in there being no shots on target. Higuain had the first chance of the match after squeezing into the area (5') following a pass from Di Maria but his shot resulted in a corner. In the 11th minute Osasuna made it one chance a piece with a miscued shot from Damia which went wide after taking a deflection on the edge of the area.
The match had no fluency and neither team managed to impose themselves on their rivals. Alonso and Di Maria were the ones with the clearest ideas of what they were trying to achieve and kept looking for the runs from Higuain and Callejon as they were trying to lose their markers and that ended in them being the players with the most attempts on goal. A pass from the man form Tolosa in the 14th minute left Higuain in front of the opponents’ goal, but the play was brought back for offside on the edge of the box. In the 23rd minute, the Argentine once again narrowly failed to make the most of a pass into space from Di Maria, and in the 25th minute he went around Andres Fernandez, who went outside his box, but his cross did not find a teammate to finish the move.
Di María (25'), Cejudo (26') and Xabi Alonso also tried their luck but their shots went wide. In the 36th minute, another through ball from Di Maria was latched onto by Callejon but the ball went over the opponents’ bar. In the 43rd minute Osasuna meshed together their best move of the first half. Cejudo made a couple of jinks and gave the ball out to the left to Armenteros, whose cross was struck wide by the player who started the move, Cejudo. The Whites had a response and could have taken the lead following a good move between Modric and Callejon in the 45th minute. The former passed to the Granadan who got to the dead-ball line, and played the ball back to Coentrao, who he failed to score without a goalkeeper to beat.
The second half began with the match’s first shot on target from Kike Sola that Casillas pushed wide for a corner, and in the 50th minute Oier tried his luck again following a saved shot but his shot went wide. In the 58th minute Mourinho brought on Benzema and Kaka for Di Maria and Higuain, and the Whites began to have more possession, but that wasn’t turned into chances. In the 67th minute, Osasuna had another attempt, but Lolo’s header from a ball crossed in from the right went wide. Armenteros tried again from distance in the 68th minute.
In the same minute, Mourinho made his final change by bringing on Ozil for Modric, and just a few minutes later the Whites were left to play with a player less. Kaka (76') was dismissed for his second yellow card for standing in the way of the ball at a free kick, after receiving his first in the 60th minute for dangerous play. Osasuna pressed forward but in the 78th minute the Whites had their best chance. A ball played in by Benzema from the right which Callejon put in the net, but the goal was ruled out for a hair-line offside. The home team kept trying and in 81st minute Damia’s shot from distance went high, whilst in the 84th minute Varane’s shot from a corner was off target. In the 93rd minute Benzema had the last chance but Andres Fernandez made the stop without any trouble and the match ended. Now it is time to think about the Copa del Rey match against Valencia.