First Division - Day 36

Zaragoza 1 - Real Sociedad 1

Zaragoza: Láinez; Pablo, Aguado, Paco, Sundgren (Cuartero 60'); Toro Acuña, José Ignacio; Juanele, Jamelli (Peternac 70'), Vellisca; Yordi. 4-2-3-1.
Real Sociedad: Alberto; López Rekarte (Julio César 85'), Loren, Luiz Alberto, Aranzábal; Xavi Alonso, Idiakez (Demetradze 87'); Tayfun, Khokhlov, De Pedro; De Paula (Fuentes 68'). 4-2-3-1.

Team changes: Zaragoza: Láinez, Jamelli, Yordi for Juanmi, Montenegro, Esnaider / Real: No change.

1-0. 23. Sundgren. Turned defender and beat keeper with shot from edge of area.
1-1. 31. De Paula. Headed past keeper after Aranzábal cross from left.

A goal each in the first half took Zaragoza and Real Sociedad a little closer to safety from relegation. Both teams had been languishing in the lower part of the table for much of the season, with Real Sociedad only recently climbing out of the bottom three with two victories in a row, and Zaragoza inching agonisingly along with unconvincing displays against teams they should have beaten. When the teams lined up, there were two well known faces missing from the home team starting eleven, Esnaider and Juanmi. The Argentinian striker had clashed with fans the week before, both during and after the match, and having decided as a result to leave the club in the summer to return to Juventus (who may sell him on to Olympique Marseille) he was in no mood for sacrifices, arguing that he had returned from injury too early and that he needed to rest longer. Juanmi was rushed into hospital on the eve of the game suffering from appendicitis, and will be out for a month or so. Láinez took his place.

The absence of Esnaider was noticeable right from the start, with his replacement Yordi hanging on to the ball too long and wasting his opportunity when presented with a chance early on. It was left to a defender to open the scoring, Sundgren celebrating his return to the side with a good goal, coolly turning Xavi Alonso before striking the ball past Alberto. However the lead didn't last more than eight minutes, De Paula heading Aranzábal's cross past the stranded Láinez on a rapid counterattack. Acuña shot over the bar just before the break when he should have been on target, and the game continued along the same lines in the second half, with Zaragoza failing to take advantage of three or four scoring chances which fell to them during that time.

With twenty minutes to go John Toshack decided that a point was enough and took off his lone striker De Paula to bring on a defender, and as the game wore on Luis Costa more or less did the same, encouraging his players to play it safe and not take unnecessary risks. The point keeps Zaragoza in thirteenth place, heading a group of five teams separated by a single point, but more importantly five points now above the bottom three. Real Sociedad actually drop down to seventeenth, but with a four point cushion to the relegation spots, particular goal average in their favour against Numancia and Racing and Osasuna to visit Anoeta in the last match of the season, they can start planning for another season in the top flight.