|Osasuna (3)||Valencia (1)|
|Oier Sanjurjo 34′|
Rubén García 48′
Pervis Estupiñán 80′
|Rodrigo Moreno 14′|
Rodrigo Moreno could be forgiven for wondering where it all went wrong. The Spain international scored a goal on his return from injury, but was later sent off in Valencia’s 3-1 defeat at Osasuna.
The red card for an elbow on Pervis Estupiñán in a 50-50 challenge in the 29th minute was Valencia’s third in as many games and resulted in Valencia’s first loss in five games.
Manager Albert Celades lamented the harsh dismissal, adding that it changed the nature of the game early on.
He said: “I think that up until the sending off – even though we were receiving a lot of crosses and shots – we were able to get to the opposition box with certain ease. After the sending off, everything became much more difficult.”
Coming off a disappointing 1-1 draw against Lille in the Champions League on Wednesday, Los Che were looking to rebound against an Osasuna side with just one win in their last five games.
Rodrigo gave them the perfect start by tapping home from three yards in the 14th minute against the run of play after superb work from Kevin Gameiro.
The French international rode his luck when a sliding Raul Navas’ back kept the ball in play, before squaring it for his strike partner’s second goal of the season.
For Valencia, who had been outplayed from the first whistle, this should have been the impetus to wrest control from Osasuna. But once the red card was shown, gaps started to open all across the pitch.
Osasuna needed no invitations. Last season’s Segunda champions strengthened their vice-like grip further, determined to equal their previous record of 30 unbeaten home league games set in 1958.
Just five minutes after Rodrigo’s red, Osasuna’s barrage of crosses paid dividends when captain Oier Sanjurjo headed past Jaume Domenech, standing in for Jasper Cillessen.
Rubén García, who created Oier’s goal, turned scorer three minutes after the restart when Roberto Torres delivered a sumptuous cross on a platter for him to head home.
In contrast to Osasuna’s slick passing, Valencia’s incoherent passes were frequently cut out. Under constant pressure by the home side, they struggled to regain control. They had just three shots to Los Rojillos’ 29.
Dani Parejo, so often the talisman this season, cut a frustrated figure the whole evening, shackled by the midfield duo of Oier and Darko Brašanac. The captain’s emotions showed when he booted the ball against the advertising boards after committing a foul in injury time.
Osasuna finally put the game to bed 10 minutes before time when Estupiñán reacted quickest in the box after the busy Domenech had palmed away another dangerous cross, curling into the top left corner.
The loss was compounded by an injury to Gameiro in the dying moments of the match.
After going unbeaten in their last five LaLiga games, Valencia’s nascent revival had been emphatically cut short.
But Los Che have to regroup quickly – a daunting task awaits at the Mestalla on Wednesday, when 5th-placed Sevilla come knocking on the back of two successive wins.