Nip and tuck
It was an extremely evenly contested first 45 minutes of the Liga Adelante season finale, in which the grandest of prizes – the last spot in the top flight of Spanish football for next term – was up for grabs between Girona FC and At. Osasuna. An intense battle for supremacy was fought in a packed midfield, while neither team granted the other much by way of space to attack into. What's more, on the scarce occasions when openings were available, both goalkeepers were in imperious form, with Isaac Becerra and Nauzet equal to everything thrown at them before the interval.
Osasuna step it up
Whatever Enrique Martin said in the dressing room at half-time clearly had an effect, as his charges came out looking fired-up and having seemingly resolved to take the bull by the horns. The visitors set up higher up the pitch and upped their pressing, in the process unsettling Girona's distribution out from the back and managing to win possession in the hosts' half.
Kodro strikes decisive blow
Before they could catch their breath, let alone switch up their own tactics to nullify Osasuna's new approach, Girona found themselves a goal down. Kenan Kodro raced on to a through ball, springing the offside trap and making no mistake as he calmly slid his finish past Becerra. Kodro scored against Gimnastic in the playoff semi-final and in the first leg of the final at El Sadar.
Subs unable to spark comeback
With the home team facing an uphill struggle, Pablo Machin opted to roll the dice and brought on two strikers, Jaime Mata and Dejan Lekic, in a bid to get his side back into the tie. Girona laid siege to Nauzet's box as they looked to keep their promotion dream alive, but although they kept going right to the death, the Catalans failed to make the breakthrough.
Party time for visitors
When the referee blew up for full time, everyone on the Osasuna bench sprinted on to the pitch and joyously celebrated their conquest in what has been a fine playoff campaign, in which their young talents shone particularly brightly.© LaLiga - Year 2016