|First Division - Day 30|
Barcelona 4 - Zaragoza 4
Reina;Gabri, Reiziger, Frank De Boer, Sergi; Cocu (Dani 75'), Guardiola; Simao
(De la Peña 65'), Rivaldo, Overmars; Kluivert. 4-2-3-1.
Team changes: Barcelona: Simao for Luis Enrique / Zaragoza: No change.
Incredible but true, Barcelona came back from behind to draw 4-4 for the second league match in a row. If last week they had to fight back from three goals down against Villarreal, this week they twice had to recoup a two goal deficit. If last week a Kluivert effort in injury time gave them a point, this time it was a Rivaldo free kick in the 92nd minute. The big question that is being asked is what has happened to their defence. They have not let in so many goals at this stage of the season for 50 years, and the good work by their forwards (Rivaldo and Kluivert currently head the goalscorers charts) have been undone by a sloppy defence.
The man who did the damage this time was Juan Eduardo Esnaider, who got his tenth and eleventh goal since joining the club in December. The striker celebrated his recall to the Argentinian national side with a goal in the ninth minute after Acuña caught the defence half asleep with a quick free kick, Jamelli laying the ball across for the big man to score through Reina's hands. The rest of the first half belonged to Barcelona, with Rivaldo wasting three or four chances and Guardiola shooting just wide. The club captain was playing his first game since announcing he would be leaving for foreign shores in the summer, and he was soundly applauded every time he touched the ball. But after all Barcelona's attacking, it was Zaragoza who scored again just before half time, Reina failing to hold on to Acuña's free kick then blocking Juanele's close up header before Jamelli finally bundled the ball in to the net with no defender in sight.
The fans got out the white handkerchiefs at half time, but Overmars finally put Barcelona back in the game shortly after the restart controlling Cocu's through ball on his chest and firing a shot first time over Juanmi. Serra Ferrer brought on Iván De la Peña for his first appearance in six months, and the Little Buddha showed some good touches. But it was Zaragoza who scored again after Juanele left Sergi for dead before crossing for José Ignacio to shoot low into the corner of the net. That started a run of five goals in just over 15 minutes, with Kluivert rounding Juanmi to score, Esnaider adding his second two minutes later and Kluivert also completing a double a minute after that kicking the ball almost out of Juanmi's hands after he had blocked a header from Dani.
Gabri headed an Esnaider shot off the line with Reina beaten and only a misunderstanding between Vellisca and Esnaider prevented the Argentinian from getting his hat-trick. And then in the second minute of injury time Rivaldo made up for his earlier misses with a free kick from the edge of the area which sent Juanmi the wrong way. It saved a point for his side, but they still slipped out of the top four the following day with Mallorca's victory over Las Palmas. They now need to beat Liverpool in their Thursday night UEFA cup semi-final or Serra Ferrer's job will be on the line. Zaragoza meanwhile are fairly safe in midtable. The two could meet again in the cup final at the end of June, although nobody is thinking about that at the moment. There are more pressing priorities.