2022-23 LaLiga
  • Saúl Ñíguez (74')

Saul gives Atletico a hard-fought win at Osasuna

Saúl Ñíguez goal 74th minute Osasuna 0-1 Atletico Madrid (1:05)

Saúl Ñíguez goal 74th minute Osasuna 0-1 Atletico Madrid (1:05)

Atletico Madrid needed a second-half goal from substitute Saul Niguez to earn a hard-fought 1-0 away win over in-form Osasuna in LaLiga on Sunday.

Saul came off the bench to score in the 74th minute on a counter-attack when Rodrigo de Paul showed great vision to see his team mate ghosting in behind Osasuna's defence and delivered a perfectly placed long ball through.

The 28-year-old midfielder showed good composure to sprint inside the box and rifle an unstoppable shot to the goalkeeper's left.

His goal and a catalogue of saves by goalkeeper Jan Oblak saved Atletico from another disappointing showing. Following their 3-0 win at Real Valladolid last weekend, it's the second time this season that they have won two league matches in a row.

Atletico, who finished last in their Champions League group and were knocked out of the Copa del Rey by rivals Real Madrid on Thursday, needed the three points to stay in the hunt for one of LaLiga's four spots in Europe's top competition next season.

They are fourth in the LaLiga standings on 34 points, 13 behind Barcelona at the top on 47 points.

"It is true that we were eliminated from the Champions League and the Copa del Rey, but we are Atletico Madrid and in this club you have to give it all until the last match, it's a privilege to defend these colours," manager Diego Simeone told Movistar Plus.

"We gave our best version when those who came off the bench injected a new strength and energy.

"We will keep fighting and competing, it's in our DNA."

The lively Antoine Griezmann had the best two chances in a dour first-half on a chilly afternoon at El Sadar Stadium in Pamplona but failed to hit the target on both occasions.

Osasuna came back a little better after the break and Oblak denied shots by Moi Gomez and Diego Moreno in the 62nd and 71st minutes with brilliant reflex saves.

After Saul scored in the 74th, Oblak made at least three other saves to keep Osasuna from scoring as they made a late push for a point.

Spanish LaLiga Standings

1 Barcelona 26 +40 68
2 Real Madrid 26 +30 56
3 Atletico Madrid 26 +23 51
4 Real Sociedad 26 +11 48
5 Real Betis 26 +8 45
6 Villarreal 26 +8 41
7 Athletic Club 26 +8 36
8 Rayo Vallecano 26 +1 36
9 Osasuna 26 -5 34
10 Celta Vigo 26 -3 34
11 Mallorca 26 -5 32
12 Girona 26 -1 31
13 Getafe 26 -7 29
14 Sevilla 26 -13 28
15 Cádiz 26 -17 28
16 Real Valladolid 26 -18 28
17 Espanyol 26 -10 27
18 Valencia 26 -3 26
19 Almería 26 -15 26
20 Elche 26 -32 13