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First Division - Day Twenty One

Deportivo de La Coruña 2 - Betis 0

Deportivo: Songo'o; Manuel Pablo, Donato, Schurrer, Romero; Mauro Silva, Flavio; Fran, Djalminha, Makaay; Pauleta. 4-2-3-1.
Betis: Prats; Otero, Crosa, Bornes, Filipescu; Gálvez, Merino, Ito, Luis Fernández; Oli, Alfonso. 4-4-2.

Team changes: Depor: Manuel Pablo, Romero, Pauleta for Ramis, Manel, Jokanovic / Betis: Crosa, Gálvez, Oli for Rivas, Benjamín, Denilson.

1-0. 44. Pauleta. Took Makaay's headed pass and rounded Crosa before scoring.
2-0. 92. Makaay. Turu shot blocked by the defence and Makaay followed up.

Deportivo moved back to winning ways with a well deserved victory against Betis. The visiting manager Griguol was forced to make two changes, with Denilson and Rivas suspended, and chose to play Gálvez wide on the right instead of Benjamín. Romero celebrated his call up for Spain with a return to Deportivo's side after a one match suspension, with Manuel Pablo and Pauleta also returning after injuries, Makaay moving out to the wing to make room for the Portuguese striker. In the end it was Pauleta who made the difference, scoring just before half time after going close a couple of times. Betis put up a poor performance, with their first serious shot of the match four minutes from time from substitute Cuéllar. Irureta brought on Víctor, Fernando and Turu Flores for Fran, Pauleta and Djalminha later in the second half, and it was Turu who produced the move leading up to their second goal, with Makaay moving quicker than anyone else to push the loose ball into the net in injury time. Deportivo keep their lead at the top with their first win in five games. Betis drop down, and although Griguol was confirmed as manager until the end of the season after their victory last week, president Ruiz de Lopera must be having second thoughts. A week is a long time in football.

Oviedo 1 - Zaragoza 0

Oviedo: Esteban; Boris, Onopko, Danjou; Eskurza, Paulo Bento, Iván Iglesias, Rabarivony; Pompei; Losada, Dely Valdés. 3-4-1-2.
Zaragoza: Juanmi; Pablo, Lanna, Paco, Aguado; Helguera, Aragón; Vellisca, Radimov, Juanele; Milosevic. 4-2-3-1.

Team changes: Oviedo: Boris, Eskurza, Iván Iglesias for Bango, Amieva, Fabio Pinto / Zaragoza: Aguado, Juanele for Sundgren, Garitano

1-0. 64. Dely Valdés. Penalty after Paco adjudged to have fouled Dely.

On paper this should have been a foregone conclusion, with second placed Zaragoza visiting next to bottom side Oviedo. However the Carlos Tartiere has always been a bogey ground for the Aragon side, with only two victories in the 24 games they have played in their history together in the first division, and in the end the jinx continued, with the home side winning a much needed three points to lift them out of the relegation zone and above Real Sociedad and Racing de Santander. Boris came back after an injury and Eskurza returned after suspension to strengthen the defence against one of the highest scoring teams in the league. Nadj was also fit after a long injury, but manager Luis Aragonés decided not to risk him from the start, and he joined the substitutes together with young striker Rubén, just back in the squad after a loan period with Eibar. Txetxu Rojo also left Toro Acuña on the Zaragoza bench for the same reason, but brought on form Juanele into the starting line up after a one match suspension, and also brought back captain Xavi Aguado in defence after sitting him out for a couple of games. The match also brought together two of the best goalkeepers in the league, Esteban and Juanmi, with the latter celebrating his first call up to the international squad. For the third match in a row Zaragoza's attack was held in check, and even with the return of Juanele they seemed short of ideas, with an unrecognisable Milosevic looking closer to being sent off than scoring a goal. Aragonés changed Iván Iglesias for Nadj at half time, and also brought on Ania who provided the pass to Dely Valdés which led to the penalty. Referee Llonch Andreu had no doubt that Paco had fouled the Panamanian striker, although television replays suggested that he made a meal of it. Later in the half there was a curious incident when a clearance from Pompei hit Luis Aragonés full in the face from close range, the Oviedo manager being unable to react with his hands in his pockets, but other than that not much else happened. Zaragoza lose a bit of momentum, and drop to third behind Barcelona. Oviedo now have a vital match next week with relegation direct rivals Racing.

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