| Manuel Labor reports.....
Copa del Rey
|First Division - Day Twenty Four|
Numancia 1 - Deportivo de La Coruña 0
Jaume, Muñiz, Soria, Octavio; Nagore, Pacheta, Castaño,
Iñaki; Barbu, Ojeda. 4-4-2.
Team changes: Numancia: Urroz, Iñaki for Nuñez, Rivera / Depor: None.
Numancia kept up their incredible unbeaten home record, defeating leaders Deportivo with a single headed goal by defensive midfielder Pacheta in the second half, his seventh of the season and his fourth in three matches. This was the fourth time that Numancia have taken on a team at the top of the table at their Los Pajaritos stadium this season, having already beaten Rayo Vallecano and Celta and drawn with Barcelona, and their scalps this season also include draws with Real Madrid and Bilbao and a victory against Mallorca. With Nuñez suspended, Roberto Urroz was favoured in the home team goal to reserve keeper Raúl. Before this match Urroz had only played in the second division B, but after a shaky start he recovered to make some good saves, and in the end kept a clean sheet. It was not all to his merit however. Deportivo were a far cry from the team that thrashed Real Madrid last week (although they were the same eleven players), and they must be thankful that teams around them are failing as well. Makaay got nowhere up front, even when Turu Flores and Pauleta joined him around the hour mark in place of Jaime, and Fran. With those three you would think that there were enough forwards on the park, but in the third minute of injury time Irureta threw everybody forward, and that meant everybody. Songo'o moved up to the penalty box for a last minute corner, and he got his head to the ball first to score past Urroz. However Urroz tripped over his own man Nagore, and referee Pérez Lasa, not very well positioned, incorrectly signalled a foul on the keeper. Songo'o protested vehemently, but the ref stood firm, the goal was disallowed and the final whistle blew, giving Numancia three more valuable points at home to move up to the top half of the table. Deportivo keep their three point lead at the top, but on this form somebody should catch them soon. I'm just not sure who.
Zaragoza 1 - Rayo Vallecano 1
Pablo, Paco, Aguado, Sundgren; Juanele, Acuña, Aragón, Garitano;
Milosevic, Yordi. 4-4-2.
Team changes: Zaragoza: Aragón, Garitano for José Ignacio, Vellisca / Rayo: Sanz, Van den Bergh for Draper, Llorens.
Zaragoza clung on to second place in the league with a draw in a match which they were lucky in the end not to lose. Despite being without four key players, with Luis Cembranos, Bolo and Estibariz injured and Llorens suspended, Rayo came out to attack, and could have snatched a victory in injury time, first when Juanmi saved a shot from Michel II on the goal line, and then when referee Iturralde González failed to spot a push on Helder in the penalty area. Nevertheless Zaragoza kept their unbeaten home record, and have now not lost in the Romareda since the middle of March last year. With Milosevic off form recently, it was left to his strike mate Yordi to open the scoring, heading a long pass by Aragón over Keller from the edge of the area. It was an uncharacteristic mistake by Keller, coming off his line late and committing himself to a hopeless challenge, and maybe he had his mind on other matters, having just been voted US footballer of the year, and invited to a dinner at the White House with the Clintons and the king of Spain later this month. Whatever it was, he made up for it later with a couple of fine saves. But it was Rayo who did most of the attacking, with Garitano clearing a shot from Canabal off the line and Juanmi saving from Ferrón and Canabal amongst others. Juande Ramos made three changes shortly after half time, bringing on Amaya for the injured Hernández, and then Michel II for Ferrón and Poschner for Van der Bergh, the German finally returning after a long injury (Rayo's new signing Mark Draper did not therefore get a chance to face his old Aston Villa team mate Milosevic). The changes eventually had their effect, with Michel II finally beating Juanmi to give his side a deserved point. After the match both managers criticised the referee, who gave out eight yellow cards, including one to Zaragoza manager Txetxu Rojo, and sent off Zaragoza's Yordi two minutes from time for a tackle from behind on Pablo Sanz. Zaragoza's Pablo was injured in the twentieth minute, and had to be replaced by Lanna. Rayo stay ninth, still only two points away from a UEFA spot, and play Atlético Madrid in the cup quarter final mid-week.