Vol. 5 Num 514 Mon. November 07, 2005  

Primera Liga
Osasuna surprise still on

Osasuna tightened their grip at the top of the Primera Liga when they inflicted a first home defeat of the season on Real Sociedad with a 2-1 win at Anoeta on Saturday.

Javier Aguirre's modest outfit are now five points clear of Barcelona at the top after 11 matches but the champions can narrow the gap to two points with a win at high-flying Getafe on Sunday.

Former Mexico coach Aguirre refused, however, to get carried away with his side's spectacular start to the season.

"We still need another 18 points or so to achieve our aim which is to avoid relegation," he said.

Villarreal climbed to third, level on points with Barca, after a first-half strike from Argentina's Luciano Figueroa gave them a 1-0 win at home to regional rivals Valencia.

Figueroa, deputising for the injured Diego Forlan, poked the ball past goalkeeper Santiago Canizares after Valencia's defence failed to deal with Marcos Senna's lofted pass into the area.

Villarreal's Mariano Barbosa preserved their lead with a string of top-drawer saves in the second half, including a stunning one-handed effort to block a vicious David Albelda drive.

Former Spain boss Javier Clemente was denied a winning start to his third spell at Athletic Bilbao when Espanyol midfielder Ferran Corominas snatched a late equaliser to earn a 1-1 draw in a nervous bottom-of-the-table clash at Montjuic.

The draw leaves Bilbao anchored to the foot of the table with Espanyol just two points above them.

Leaders Osasuna dominated the early exchanges against Sociedad but they only took the lead 11 minutes before halftime after good work by Enrique Corrales on the left.

The fullback clipped a fine cross into the area and in-form midfielder Raul Garcia outjumped two defenders and team mate Savo Milosevic to loop a header over keeper Asier Riesgo.

Sociedad drew level, however, on the stroke of halftime when spot kick specialist Xabi Prieto put away a penalty after Osasuna midfielder Valdo handled in the area.

Riesgo stopped Osasuna regaining the lead early in the second half with a great double save, scooping a powerful Milosevic header off the line and then blocking the striker's follow-up with a superb reflex save.

However, defender Carlos Cuellar secured a rare win for the Navarrans in San Sebastian when he headed low into the net after bursting between two defenders to meet a free kick from Patxi Punal midway through the second half.