The Spain International's stunning goal earned a point for the away side that missed out on the opportunity to go one point behind third placePlaying through a game without many opportunities, Osasuna and Malaga fought to a 1-1 draw at the Reyno de Navarra on Monday evening.
Nino opened scoring in the first half with a point-blank header after latching on to a cross from Alvaro Cejudo. The veteran's strike was cancelled out by Santi Cazorla's second-half long range goal which earned a point for his team.
The away side burst out of the gate and nearly opened scoring in the first minute when Joaquin broke through on goal and only had Andres Fernandez to beat. The former Osasuna man could not take advantage of the glorious scoring opportunity and permitted a save from his counterpart.
Instead of allowing its opponents' early chance to rattle its nerves, the home side was able to settle into the game and create goal-mouth action itself. A corner kick from the right fell to the feet of Francisco Punal who blasted his resulting effort towards goal. Idriss Kameni was able to deny the midfielder with a great fingertip save.
A period of dominance ensued for Los Rojillos who controlled the match with their possession based style of play. However, they could not create any threatening opportunities and it was Malaga who nearly opened scoring again. Inside the box, Nacho Monreal unleashed a powerful drive that crashed against Fernandez's post and certainly rung the ears of the goalkeeper who was frozen on the play.
The second-half began slowly as both teams were unable to create any attacking play and were battling in the middle of the pitch. Osasuna was the first to break through and when it did, it also broke the deadlock. On the left, Cejudo curled a wonderful cross in to the box for a surging Nino who headed past Kameni to open scoring.
Manuel Pellegrini's men responded through Ruud Van Nistelrooy who had replaced a rather silent Salomon Rondon. Joaquin broke free on the right and crossed for the leaping Dutchman whose header only nearly found the wrong side of the post.
Malaga continued to pressure its opponents and its efforts paid off when Cazorla equalized for the Andalusian side. Picking up the ball at about 25 yards, the Spain international curled a world class effort past Fernandez to keep his side's hopes of a victory alive.
Inspired by Cazorla's goal, the away side marched forward and nearly earned the advantage when Ignacio Camacho struck the crossbar after a corner from the right. Malaga continued to pressure Osasuna for the rest of the match but could not find the goal which would grant them the victory.
With the draw, Osasuna has leapt over Sevilla in the standings and now find itself in sixth place. Malaga finds itself four points behind Valencia for fourth after missing out on the opportunity to close the gap to one.
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