Manuel Labor reports.....
First Division
Second Division
First Division - Day Eighteen

Deportivo de La Coruña 0 - Racing Santander 3

Deportivo: Songo'o; Manuel Pablo, Schurrer, Naybet, Romero; Jokanovic, Flavio; Víctor, Djalminha, Turu Flores; Makaay. 4-2-3-1.
Racing: Lemmens; Mellberg, Neru, Sietes; Manjarín, Espina, Colsa, Amavisca; Vivar Dorado; Salva, Munitis. 3-4-1-2.

Leaders Deportivo lost their second match in a row, bringing them back down to earth after their incredible run in the first half of the season. Their narrow loss last week at Zaragoza was understandable, but less so was their defeat by a Racing side struggling near the bottom of the division. On paper this should have been an easy victory, with Djalminha and Víctor back in the side for Pauleta and the injured Mauro Silva, and Schurrer replacing Ramis with Donato still out. Racing were without the suspended Ceballos in goal, Lemmens substituting, and with Arzeno and Ismael out with injuries, in came Neru and under 20 international Colsa, getting his first start for his club. It was the youngster who made the first goal on the quarter hour, his precise pass setting up Salva who placed the ball past the stranded Songo'o. Deportivo came forward, pinning Racing in their own half with a stream of attacks down the wings, but it was not their night as Lemmens and the woodwork kept them out. Three minutes into the second half it was two, Salva once again adding to Depor's woes after veterans Manjarín (ex Depor) and Amavisca combined to leave the young striker with an easy task. This was Salva's 18th of the season, taking him once again to the top of the 'pichichi' goalscorers table, one ahead of Milosevic. Víctor went off with an injury shortly after, Irureta bringing on Pauleta and throwing caution to the winds. They left themselves short at the back however, and Santander nipped in once again to score their third, this time Amavisca laying on a pass for Spanish international Munitis. With Zaragoza only drawing Deportivo have the consolation that they will end the first half of the season as winter champions (an honorary title with no trophy), but they must get their act together at the weekend if they are to continue at the top. Racing end a run of nine games without a win, moving up to 13th but still only two points away from the relegation zone.

Málaga 0 - Zaragoza 0

Málaga: Contreras; Rojas, Bravo, Larrainzar, Valcarce; Rufete, De los Santos, Movilla, Agostinho; Catanha, Edgar. 4-4-2.
Zaragoza: Juanmi; Pablo, Lanna, Paco, Sundgren; Helguera, Garitano, Aragón, Radimov; Juanele, Milosevic. 4-4-2.

It was billed as the battle of the two strikers, with Málaga's Catanha and Zaragoza's Milosevic expected to make their marks in a high scoring game. Nothing could be further from the truth. The two defences dominated the game, and on the few occasions that they approached the goal, keepers Contreras and Juanmi showed safe pairs of hands. Both teams lined up unchanged, with Txexu Rojo surprising the visiting fans by leaving out captain Xavi Aguado (available after a one match suspension), preferring Italian defender Lanna in his place. Darío Silva returned to the Málaga bench after a ten week lay off through injury. The match was played largely in the centre of the park, with both sides relying on the counter attack and appearing to be happy with a point. Milosevic should have scored in the last minute however when he got a ball in the goal area, but the match appeared doomed to a draw and the big striker was unable to get the ball in the net. Zaragoza stay second, reducing the gap with leaders Deportivo to five points. Málaga drop to 15th, and with three points separating eight clubs, they could soon be involved in a relegation struggle.

Next page
Cover page