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16.02.2008 11:00

Lots of potential

Jesús Carrillo

Barça’s opponents this evening, Zaragoza, have had a very uneven season so far which has been enough to cost previous coach Víctor Fernández his job. The side is now managed by Jabo Irureta.

Jabo Irureta’s main doubt is whether Brazilian Ricardo Oliveira will be available this evening. A bout of flu meant that the striker, on loan from Milan, has not been able to train practically all week. If Oliveira cannot play, Óscar González will partner Diego Milito up front.

Starting XI virtually decided

In Wednesday’s training session Jabo Irureta organised a training match at the club’s sports complex with what is likely to be the starting line-up for this evening’s game with Barcelona. In goal will be César. Diogo and JuanFran will be at fullback with Ayala and Sergio in the centre of the defence. In midfield Zapater might come in at the expense of ex-Barça player Celades. Gabi and Sergio García will be playing wide, while Diego Milito is a fixture. All that’s left to decide is whether Oliveira or Óscar González will play alongside him.

Only the League

1191777652_0.jpgZaragoza were one of the most promising sides at the start of the season. They were in the UEFA Cup and players like Diego Milito, Ayala, Aimar, D’Alessandro, Matuzalem and Gabi meant that the Romareda faithful were looking forward to a good campaign. Getting knocked out of the first round of the UEFA Cup, Matuzalem picking up an injury and training ground bust-ups between D’Alessandro and Aimar made things start to turn sour. Elimination from the Spanish Cup led to the sacking of Víctor Fernández and the resignation of Ander Garitano ten days later. The club also decided, in addition to changes in the coaching staff, to transfer D’Alessandro to an Argentinean side.

UEFA Cup is only goal

Zaragoza are five points off a UEFA Cup spot, and now under Basque coach Jabo Irureta they know that the best they can hope for come May is to qualify for Europe’s second club tournament next season.
Lots of potential
La Romareda, Zaragoza’s fortress
This season La Romareda is proving an extremely tough nut to crack for visiting sides. So far Zaragoza have only lost once at home, on matchday eleven when they went down by two goals to three against Valladolid. They just seem to play a lot better in front of their own fans.

Currently Irureta’s men are in tenth place on 29 points, 23 of which have been picked up at La Romareda with six victories and five draws which gives them the fifth best home record in the League.

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