juanlu makes sure for osasuna published: friday 13 april 2007, 0.53cet
juanlu gómez's second-half goal secured osasuna an all-spanish semi-final tie against the holders sevilla fc.
by graham hunter from reyno de navarra stadium
ca osasuna sealed a place in the uefa cup semi-finals for the first time in their history with a hard-fought 1-0 victory over bayer 04 leverkusen.
all-spanish semi josé ángel ziganda's team rode their luck at times but juanlu gómez's second-half goal made the aggregate score 4-0 and ensured there will be a spanish presence in next month's final in glasgow; osasuna will meet primera división rivals sevilla fc in the last four.
poor conditions on a night of swirling wind and heavy rain in pamplona, the conditions conspired against the two coaches' promise of attacking football. despite trailing 3-0 from the first leg in germany, leverkusen seemed content to operate on the counterattack, conscious perhaps of how lethal a weapon this had been for their visitors last week. yet although they enjoyed a relative comfort zone for the majority of the opening period, michael skibbe's side first had to survive an early scare. roberto soldado ran on to a pass from valdo lópez, but the 21-year-old shot with more power than composure and the ball soared over.
schneider impresses otherwise, the bundesliga outfit spent the half showing that they more or less had osasuna's measure. the intensely busy bernd schneider, the hard-working paul freier and, to some extent, sergej barbarez gave leverkusen a threat going forward, despite a lack of quality possession. they might have been lagging behind on aggregate, yet schneider in particular played as if it was still 0-0. indeed, his toil helped barbarez hold up the ball in the osasuna area before gonzalo castro rounded off the move with a tame effort.
ricardo to the rescue castro redeemed himself with a superb block to deny soldado when the forward once more appeared in prime position to score. then, just before the interval, leverkusen should have made the breakthrough. simon rolfes cut open osasuna's defensive line and freier danced around the challenge of nacho monreal and unleashed a shot that goalkeeper ricardo lópez tipped, at full stretch, past the post. juanlu opened the second half with a strike that rené adler dealt with comfortably enough, but the away team continued to look the more likely marksmen. their breaks increased in pace and incisiveness, and only monreal's goalline intervention prevented jan-ingwer callsen-bracker nodding in the opener. yet as so often happens, the pardoned side exacted punishment.
osasuna seal victory juanlu's night had been one of frustration up until the 62nd minute when his left-to-right pass found soldado. the no18 fired in a firm diagonal shot from outside the box which adler parried into juanlu's path and the winger stroked the ball into the net. with their progress assured, osasuna pushed on for a grandstand finish and with nine minutes remaining, carlos cuéllar followed up his own header with a shot from close range that adler smothered. by that stage, leverkusen were due a bit of luck. osasuna's reward is a maiden uefa competition semi-final on 26 april and 3 may.