First Division - Day 1

Zaragoza 1 - Espanyol 2

Zaragoza: Juanmi; Pablo, Aguado, Paco, Vellisca; Acuña, José Ignacio; Juanele, Jamelli (Yordi 60'), Garitano (Sundgren 80'); Peternac (Marcos Vales 70'). 4-2-3-1.
Espanyol: Mora; Navas, Nando (Manel 78'), Pochettino, Roger (Toledo 46'); Sergio, Galca, Iván Díaz, Arteaga; Martín Posse; Oscar (Serrano 22'). 4-4-1-1.

1-0. 67. Acuña. Strong shot from edge of area after Juanele took ball off Toledo.
1-1. 88. Galca (penalty). After Aguado saved Sergio's shot with his hand.
1-2. 94. Serrano. Picked up loose ball after Manel headed out of Juanmi's grasp.

Zaragoza paid the price for complacency, giving the game away to Espanyol at the end of the game after leading with only two minutes to go. Zaragoza scored halfway through the second half through Paraguayan international Acuña, who unleashed an unstoppable shot from the edge of the area. The defensive midfielder who scored five goals last season had given an early warning of his intentions in the first minute when he fired in a free kick at the visitors goal, and he repeated the act early in the second half before getting third time lucky.

With a couple of minutes to go however Sergio struck the ball goalwards, and Aguado flung himself full stretch to tip it over the ball. Had he been a goalkeeper it would have been the save of the match, but he isn't and it wasn't. Referee Turienzo Alvarez pointed straight at the penalty spot and sent off the home team skipper, and Galca sent Juanmi the wrong way from the spot kick. Then with the game in the fourth minute of injury time, late substitute Manel challenged for a high ball with the Zaragoza keeper. The Espanyol forward won the ball with his head, and it fell loose to Serrano, who stroked it into the net. The Zaragoza players surrounded the referee claiming a foul on the keeper, but the goal was allowed to stand and seconds later the match finished. Needless to say Turienzo needed a police escort to leave the pitch.

The result raises question marks about Zaragoza's ability to stay at the top level this season. True the only change in the side was at centre forward, but new signing Peternac is no substitute for Milosevic, and the club are making another effort to sign the Argentinian striker Milito before Friday's deadline. . Their other two new signings this season, Rebosio and Ferrón (on Olympic duty) did not cost much so new manager Lillo should have some money to spend, although the club have always been careful to balance their budget. The other alternative up front is Yordi, substitute in this match, who scored quite a few goals last season.

As for Espanyol, with the exception of keeper Cavallero they have been able to hold on to their best players, and the renewal of Galca will be key to their success this year. With Tamudo and Velamazán in Australia with the Olympic squad, new signing Oscar played in front of Posse in attack, although he only lasted twenty minutes or so before he had to go off with an injury which will mean he misses the UEFA cup tie on Thursday plus possibly a couple more matches. Curiously his brother Roger also had to be substituted at half time. Oscar s replacement was Serrano, a player who, along with Manel, was transfer listed this summer. Both will surely now stay, as with Benítez still slowly recovering from a long injury, the only other forward is David Aganzo, a youngster on loan from Real Madrid. Thursday's game could see the return of veteran full back Cristóbal, rested for this game as a precaution, and another youngster, Iván Díaz, may have done enough today to keep his place.