Las Palmas v Osasuna – Gran Canaria at 17:30 live on Sky Sports 5
Las Palmas arrived at the Bernabeu on Wednesday night on the back of a four-match losing streak and with only two triumphs in 12 but we’d never have known.
Quique Setien’s side dominated the first-half at the home of the European champions, enjoying more possession, leading the shot count and creating more goalscoring opportunities. The score was locked at 1-1 when the half-time whistle sounded but the Canary Islanders stepped it up a notch after the break.
The Yellows steamed into a deserved 3-1 advantage as Jonathan Viera, Tana and Roque Mesa controlled proceedings in the Spanish capital. With half an hour to play and Real Madrid down to 10 men following Gareth Bale’s sending off, a first ever win at the Bernabeu looked to be heading Las Palmas’ way.
A missed opportunity for Las Palmas
However, the plucky underdogs failed to finish the job. Real came roaring back and the visitors from Gran Canaria creaked. It was a breathless end-to-end encounter, after which Setien admitted his side buckled under the pressure.
The Las Palmas head coach exclaimed, “A combination of the fear of losing the lead you have and the team you have in front of you means that can happen. But we didn’t manage the ball well. We lost the ball trying to score more when we should have simply kept it; we didn’t need to go forward all the time.”
Nevertheless, that positive result should galvanise a group that had began to lose their way. The Yellows began their campaign in superb style, racing towards the top of the table but gradually performances have dropped off and Sunday’s hosts have bagged only four league triumphs since mid-September (W4-D8-L9).
Strong home form
Despite the potential psychological effects inflicted on losing a two-goal lead in such circumstances during midweek, Setien’s side have a fantastic chance to post an overdue victory when rock-bottom Osasuna arrive on the island this weekend.
The hosts have W13-D9-L6 when welcoming La Liga teams to their base under Setien and were unbeaten in 15 here before unfortunate successive 1-0 losses to Real Sociedad – where Las Palmas went down to a goalkeeper howler – and Sevilla – where the Yellows competed valiantly for large swathes.
In Gran Canaria, Las Palmas have W3-D3-L0 against teams currently in the bottom-six and if we exclude the current top-six, the home side have returned impressive W6-D4-L0 in league action here. Three of those six triumphs were achieved by a margin of two goals or more.
Osasuna have waved the white flag
Osasuna arrive having seemingly waved the white flag for relegation. Los Rojillos showed initial signs of life in early January but the side from Pamplona have reverted to their wretched ways in recent weeks and now sit 10 points adrift at the foot of the Spanish top-flight.
Petar Vasiljevic is the third coach charged with turning the side’s fortunes around but a terrible defensive record – Osasuna have conceded at least three goals in six of their last seven fixtures – combined with dwindling belief and confidence levels appears to have confirmed their fate.
The visitors were thrashed 4-1 at home to Villarreal in midweek and come into this contest with a win in 17, losing 13 of those outings. On the road Los Rojillos have been beaten in six of their last seven despite travelling to four teams in the bottom-six of the division and another reverse looms large on Sunday.
Las Palmas can be backed with a -1 Asian Handicap start here at 2.06. Considering 12 of Osasuna’s 17 league losses this season have seen this selection pay-out, including seven of eight losses away from home, I’m super confident we’ll see a push at the very least.
Asian Handicap Recommendation: Las Palmas -1 at 2.06
Prices correct at time of writing.
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