Soldado sinks sorry Sevilla
By Alex Dunn. Last Updated: January 1, 1970 1:00am
It is advantage Osasuna at the half-way stage of their Uefa Cup semi-final with Sevilla, after they claimed a 1-0 victory on home soil courtesy of Roberto Soldado.
An often ill-tempered and somewhat strange game saw referee Eric Braamhaar disappear for six second half minutes, without explanation, before being replaced by fourth official Pieter Vink injured, while Soldado's fine goal was a header from a free-kick he won - and was booked for.
Soldado's goal came ten minutes after the half-time break and it was one that the game desperately needed, after what was an opening period that stuttered and stalled in never really starting.
Soldado, who now misses the second leg after his booking, was seemingly yellow carded for lashing out, despite Braamhaar having adjudged that the Osasuna man had been fouled.
The setpiece was drifted in from the right and Soldado planted a fine header beyond David Cobeno at his far post. It was a goal Osasuna deserved for their efforts against a Sevilla side that looked a pale imitation of that which impressed in disposing of Tottenham in the last round.
A first half that conjured precious few chances was perhaps best summed up by Savo Milosevic's push into the face of Christian Poulsen, which went unpunished.
Osasuna had the better of the openings as Sevilla looked content to defend, as the dangerous Raul Garcia twice went close to opening the scoring.
The second half improved considerably as Osasuna had Sevilla on the back foot from the off, as David Lopez fired over from no more than six yards and Soldado went close to finding a second with a curling effort from the edge of the box.
On the counter-attack Sevilla's Russian substitute Alexander Kerzhakov went close to levelling with a clever close range flick and in injury time, Freddie Kanoute tested Osasuna's goalkeeper, when he would have been wiser to play in his strike partner.
Osasuna's win was well deserved but a trip to Estadio Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan is never enviable and Sevilla could yet prove too strong as they bid to retain the trophy they won last season.