Osasuna increases European chances
LA LIGA FIXTURES
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Goals in each half from Raul Garcia and Nino moved Osasuna to within a point of Levante as they enhanced their chances of playing European football next season with a 2-0 win at Ciutat de Valencia.
Garcia put the visitors in front with a wonderful finish from Nino's flick-on after 16 minutes before Andres Fernandez was called into action on numerous occasions to keep his side in front, most notably saving Xavi Torres' downward header and from Arouna Kone when the Ivorian was through one-on-one with the keeper.
And Osasuna took advantage of the hosts' profligacy as Garcia and Nino again combined with 11 minutes remaining for the latter to score his first goal since October.
Both sides have taken the league by surprise this season to challenge for Europe, but it was Osasuna who were more clinical on the day.
The opener arrived when some poor Levante defending allowed a long-throw to reach Garcia on the edge of the area and he smashed a left-footed volley past Gustavo Munua.
Levante went on to dominate the rest of the half and Kone saw his header creep just over the bar from Abdelkader Ghezzal's cross six minutes later.
However, the hosts still weren't dealing with Osasuna's long throw-ins and Garcia had another chance in an almost exact move to the one that brought the first goal but was this time denied by a good save from Munua.
Torres, Jose Barkero and Ghezzal all then had long-range efforts saved by Andres, before Ghezzal had a clearer sight of goal when he headed wide just before half-time.
The hosts continued to press early in the second period as Andres made a brilliant double save to parry Torres' header and then get back on his feet to deny Barkero before Levante's best chance of the game arrived with 23 minutes to go, but again Kone couldn't find a way past Andres after being played in by Javi Venta.
Osasuna came back into the game in the final quarter though and after Munua had made a brilliant stop to deny Garcia his second of the day, more lax defending allowed the midfielder to pick out Nino and he gave Munua no chance with a low right-footed shot into the corner.
A second away win of the campaign for Osasuna means they move up to fifth, whilst Levante remain three points behind Valencia and Malaga in fourth.