by Satish Sekar © Satish Sekar (July 29th 2014)
Jan Urbanʼs Osasuna sent a second half message tonight. He put a new eleven on at half time, but insisted that was not his first team. “Our priorities are to get back into the Primera División,” Urban said. A much changed Brentford team held their own in the first half, but were taken apart in the second as Osasuna put four past the Bees without reply.
“I think they are a very good team”, Brentford defender Kevin OʼConnor said of Osasuna. “They had chances. We had chances. We could have gone one nil up. Thirty seconds after, they scored, so itʼs just fine margins”.
Seconds before the counter attack that gave Osasuna the lead Alan McCormackʼs 53rd minute shot beat goalkeeper Asier Riesgo Unamuno, but also the post. Riesgo initiated the retort which resulted in Manuel Onwu Villafranca finishing with aplomb to open the scoring. Brentford, fielding just two of the starting line-up that defeated Nice 3-2 three days earlier. Less than five minutes later a nice move by Osasuna on the edge of Brentfordʼs area put Onwu through to score his second.
With 14 minutes remaining Nino (Juan Francisco Martínez Modesto) penetrated Brentfordʼs defence trying and failing to play offside to beat Richard Lee for the third. With added time approaching Osasuna added a fourth – an excellent header by David García Zubiria that gave Lee no chance. Osasuna deserved their win, but the gloss was somewhat taken off it by fervent speculation over the future of Adam Forshaw. Wiganʼs approaches, which Brentford have rejected, have angered the Bees.
A Tale of Two Halves
Urban denied that his second half team was his strongest side. Jordan Lotiès impressed in defence, producing a magnificently timed interception to stop Montell Moore in his tracks. Roberto Santamaría Ciprián was delighted to see Stuart Dallasʼ shot from André Grayʼs cross clear his bar – the first chance of the match in the 17th minute – but Santamaría had to be alert to deny Gray after Moore had put him through.
OʼConnor was impressed with the Spanish opposition. However, he pointed out that Brentford not only held their own in the first half, but very nearly took the lead just before Osasuna did. “Very good team”, OʼConnor said of Osasuna. “They moved the ball around very well. It was a very good test. They also changed their whole team, so they went out fresher than us in the second half, but they are a good team, so itʼs tough”.
After 32 minutes Alejandro Berenguer Remiroʼs shot was well saved by Lee and just before half time Harlee Deanʼs block prevented Marcos Tébarʼs error from costing the Bees. Roberto Torres Moralesʼ goal-bound effort was not allowed to trouble Lee. Brentford faced a fresh eleven in the second half. Urbanʼs new look team almost made the Bees pay three minutes after the restart. Álvaro Cejudo Carmonaʼs corner was headed onto the woodwork by Oier Sanjurjo Maté with Lee beaten.
So what did Brentford learn from playing Nice and then Osasuna ahead of this weekendʼs fixture against Crystal Palace? “Just we play against a different style of football”, OʼConnor said. “You know I donʼt think there will be another team that will come to Griffin Park and play the way Osasuna played. You know they were very good. You just try and adapt to every type of scenario”.