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Osasuna relegated after dramatic afternoon in El Sadar

AS AS 19/05/2014 José A. Espina

Osasuna go down to the second division 14 years after they came up to the top flight and on the day their great captain, Puñal, retires. The match today was marked by the collapse of a stadium barrier that left 68 injured and led to the match being stopped for over 35 minutes.

The 2-1 victory over Betis wasn’t enough to keep Javi García’s side in the top flight, because they needed another result to go their way, in any of the matches in Vallecas, Almería or Valladolid. It was a desperately sad afternoon in Pamplona, with fans taken to hospital after the barrier collapsed and with the tears caused by the relegation added to by the sadness of the departure of Patxi Puñal, one of the greatest ambassadors the Navarre club has had on the pitch.

The crush of fans that led to the barrier collapsing was caused by Riera’s 11th minute goal. 38 minutes later, but just 3 minutes in footballing terms, Acuña made it 2-0. Most of Betis appeared to be entirely unbothered by what was going on, or the fact this game might have a major impact on the league, depending on what happened elsewhere. Most, but not keeper Adán or Salva Sevilla, who created most of Betis’ chances, or in the second half Chica. In spite of having a mediocre game in defence the Catalan warned with a shot, well saved by Andrés Fernández, and then smashed one into the top corner in the 70th minute to make it 2-1.

Osasuna held on for the win, but they needed something to give elsewhere. If Athletic had scored against Almería then they would have been pegged back to be level on 39 points with Osasuna – but the head to head between the two sides was even, and Osasuna needed to make up 3 in the goal difference to move ahead. Athletic though, never scored. 0-0 it stayed and Almería were safe.

If Rayo had beaten Getafe then it would have been the latter going down and not Osasuna, but Getafe led 1-0, were pegged back to 1-1, before a late penalty sealed their first division status. Rayo of course, despite conceding the most goals in the league (80), were safe coming into the match. 

Osasuna’s last chance was Valladolid, who would have saved the Pamplona side and likely taken Granada down with them, had they beaten the side from Andalusia. But it was Granada who won, 1-0, to stay in the Primera and confirm beyond any shadow of a doubt that it was Valladolid who were going down.

And so, in the end, the two sides who started the day in 18th and 19th place, the two relegation spots (in addition to Betis, firmly in last), stayed where they were and will be playing in the second division next year.

Relegation battle results:

Valladolid 0-1 Granada

Almería 0-0 Athletic

Osasuna 2-1 Betis

Rayo 1-2 Getafe

Bottom of the league final:

13 Getafe 42pts

14 Espanyol 42 pts

15 Granada 41 pts

16 Elche 40 pts

17 Almería 40pts

18 Osasuna 39pts R

Coach Javi Garcia consoles captain Patxi Puñal after Osasuna are relegated. © Proporcionado por AS Coach Javi Garcia consoles captain Patxi Puñal after Osasuna are relegated.

19 Valladolid 36pts R

20 Betis 25pts R

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