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La Liga preview: Osasuna look to keep climbing

Osasuna can put one spot between them and La Liga’s relegation zone when Real Zaragoza come to town on Saturday.

Osasuna can put one spot between them and La Liga’s relegation zone when Real Zaragoza come to town on Saturday.

Pamplona-based side Osasuna have made a move up the table in the past month, earning eight points in five matches and have not lost at home in three games, earning a scoreless draw against Real Madrid followed by victories over fellow strugglers Deportivo La Coruna and Celta de Vigo.

Osasuna held on to 17th position last week with a 1-1 draw away to 19th-placed Mallorca but they could move up to 16th if they defeat the incumbents of that spot, Real Zaragoza, on Saturday.

Defensive midfielder Lolo has been crucial to Osasuna’s recent run, scoring the opener against Mallorca, while setting up the winning goals against Deportivo La Coruna and Celta de Vigo.

While Osasuna and Real Zaragoza tussle based around the threat of relegation should be the match to watch on Saturday, sixth-placed Rayo Vallecano’s trip across the Spanish capital to take on Real Madrid will be the premier game on Sunday.

Vallecano continuing presence towards the top end of La Liga’s standings has been one of the stories of the season.

Paco Jemez’s men pulled off a 2-1 win over another local rival, Atletico Madrid, last week, but having lost four of their past six away fixtures, the cash-strapped club could struggle at the Santiago Bernabeu.

The relegation battle in La Liga threatens to be much more interesting than the title race as seven clubs from 14th-placed Athletic Bilbao to bottom club Deportivo La Coruna are split by just 10 points.

La Coruna, who have lost four on the trot, will get the weekend’s action underway with a trip to Sevilla on Friday.

In other matches with importance in regards to potential relegation, Athletic Bilbao travel to Malaga, 15th-placed Granada host Barcelona and Celta de Vigo head to Getafe on Saturday, while Valencia will host Mallorca on Sunday.

League-leaders Barcelona should be confident of at least maintaining their margin over Atletico Madrid, although Granada did defeat Real Madrid 1-0 two weeks ago.

If Granada pull off another shock win, however, Atletico Madrid can draw within nine points of the top of the table if they triumph away to Real Valladolid on Sunday.

In other games, Real Sociedad will welcome Levante to San Sebastian and Espanyol will take on Real Betis.

Thu 14 Feb, 2013
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