Osasuna earns first win of season
PAMPLONA, Spain (AP)
Osasuna beat Elche 2-1 Friday for its first win of the Spanish league season, provisionally lifting the team out of last place.
The much-needed victory for the Pamplona-based side came in the home debut of new coach Javi Gracia, who replaced the fired Jose Mendilibar.
Midfielder Emiliano Armenteros opened the scoring for Osasuna at Reyno de Navarra Stadium in the 16th minute, and Oriol Riera added another goal in the 48th after goalkeeper Andres Fernandez made two saves to frustrate Elche's best efforts.
''This was a like a final for us,'' Riera said.
Elche was left without a victory through five rounds in its return to Spain's first division.
Armenteros drilled the ball off the far post and into the net to put Osasuna ahead after Elche's defense failed to clear a series of rebounds.
Osasuna's Roberto Torres almost doubled the hosts' lead 10 minutes later. But Elche dominated the rest of the first half and only Fernandez's efforts to tap shots by Yiadom Boakye and Eduardo Albacar over the bar kept Osasuna in front.
Riera netted his own rebound after Raoul Loe set him up in the area.
Eduardo Albacar pulled one back for Elche from the penalty spot with three minutes to go after Marc Bertran handled the ball in the area.
''We are a new team in this division, and it's proving tough for us to win games, but there is a long way to go,'' Albacar said.