Los Rojillos remain in trouble, and they’ll seek solace against los Boquerones...
Seven weeks into the Primera Division season, the numbers don’t look healthy for Osasuna. To date they only have one success to their name, and equally worryingly they only have four goals to their credit. Against Malaga, who sit only one point better off, Juan Antonio Camacho will expect a significant improvement from his side.
Against Deportivo La Coruna – a side similarly impotent in attack - last weekend, there was to be no buck in los Rojillos’ recent trend. Thankfully for the Pamplona outfit they can defend, and it was by virtue of their rearguard that they earned a point via a 0-0 draw. It really should have been three, as they had the best chances of the match, despite losing Camunas to a 35th minute red card.
Poor refereeing was also to blame as well as poor finishing. Krisztian Vadocz, who squandered a chance from close range, had seemingly scored a perfectly viable opening goal, though he had his celebrations cut short by an over-zealous assistant referee, who flagged wrongly.
Luck may be counting against Osasuna at present, but they cannot afford to lose heart. Three of their last four games have ended with Camacho’s men taking something tangible for their efforts, and after picking up a pair of draws against Malaga last season, they should again be confident of avoiding defeat as a minimum.
Malaga have fared somewhat better than Osasuna to date, earning seven points early in the season, yet for all the excitement that surrounded the Andalucian team at the start of the campaign they are struggling to fire. Having enjoyed investment from the Qatari royal family in the summer, the southerners were expected to thrive, especially after appointing former Porto boss Jesualdo Ferreira to their helm.
Surprisingly, los Boquerones have lost all four home matches they’ve played this term, hammered 4-1 by Real Madrid last weekend. Their saving grace has been some strong form on the road, which has seen them earn two wins and a draw in their opening three matches.
This week Ferreira has attempted to play down the potential of the Rosaleda club, indicating to Record: “This is the great challenge of my career, and I want to finish this season among the top ten in the league. Their philosophy is consistent with who I am, I do not train for losing teams, that is not me.”
Indicating that he wants his men to play attractive football, Ferreira has accepted that Malaga have not hit top gear yet, but he has pointed out reasons for this. “It is the only way to win titles,” he said, speaking of the passing game he wants his side to play. “It has been slow to translate to my players because of injuries and a lack of adaptation from some players.”
Should Malaga lose on Sunday, the coach should readdress his targets, as avoiding the relegation zone should jump to the top of his agenda.
Javier Camunas is suspended, but he was expected to miss the next two games due to injury in any case.
Sergio Fernandez may return after injury, Walter Pandiani should be given the all clear and Patxi Punal is back after a ban; a hat-trick of boosts for the hosts.
There are fears that striker Jose Rondon won’t be able to play in his encounter after he pulled out of training early on Thursday. It’s not all bad news for the guests as Eliseu and Sebastian Fernandez return to action.
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