Diego Costa justified his surprise inclusion in the Atletico Madrid first XI as he came to his team's rescue by netting a treble to seal a comeback victory against Osasuna.
The game got off to a very sluggish start and was most unlike La Liga in terms of the lack of technical quality on show. The opening exchanges were very physical, with both sides opting for seemingly conservative approaches. Atletico were also missing suspended Argentina forward, Sergio Aguero, which was a massive loss for them in terms of the creativity and potent attacking threat he brings to the capital-club.
There was just the solitary chance for either team in the first quarter of the game that fell to Osasuna in the 17th minute. David de Gea managed to pull off a wonderful double-save from Soriano after the goalkeeper found himself in a one-on-one situation with the forward.
Portuguese full-back Nelson was looking the most threatening for the Pamplona side and was very direct in his play as he continually looked to attack Atletico’s captain, Antonio Lopez.
The pressure from Osasuna continued as they turned the screw on Los Rojiblancos, and duly managed to net a deserved opener just after the half hour mark. Kike Sola smashed home a first-time shot after a delightful cross by Alvaro Cejudo from the right wing. De Gea was left despairing with absolutely no chance.
Minute’s later Osasuna defender, Lolo, and Atleti’s Brazilian forward, Diego Costa, were seen flailing elbows at each other off the ball. This seemingly only aided in riling the Lagarto-born striker who moments later managed to both justify his position in the starting eleven, as well as Diego Forlan’s place on the bench with an expertly chipped finish over the on-rushing Ricardo. It was a wonderful defense-splitting through ball from Juanfran that presented Costa with the opportunity, who brilliantly obliged.
The opening forty-five minutes were brought to a close with the score level at 1-1, and all to play for in the second half.
The second period opened similarly to the start of the game, with both teams looking slightly nervous. The contest did however change course on the hour mark as Diego Costa’s quick-fire double completed his hat-trick for the Madrid-side. Costa’s second goal of the night was arrowed into the corner after a good spot from Raul Garcia. His third goal was then cutely drilled through the legs of Ricardo as Osasuna were left shell-shocked.
The game was however kept alive from Los Rojillos point of view after Jose Antonio Reyes missed a penalty in the 68th minute. The Spaniard struck the ball cleanly enough, but Ricardo managed to get down well and parry the ball away to safety.
The shot-stopper’s save seemingly suggested game on, as Osasuna managed to convert a penalty of their own in the 80th minute as Javad Nekounam showed Reyes exactly how to do it and converted his spotkick with ease.
It should have meant game on for the remaining ten minutes, however a rush of blood to Osasuna’s red-headed defender, Sergio, lead to him elbowing Diego Costa in the face and being subsequently red carded. The impetus was lost from the Pamplona-side, and Atletico Madrid managed to hold out for a hard-fought, well-earned three points.
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