La Liga Preview: Zaragoza Vs Malaga

The visitors, who boast the league’s worst away record, came out all cylinders firing in the opening 45 minutes, but they failed to capitalize on any of their chances.

Those misses came to haunt them in the 66th minute when Málaga’s Apono Galdeano got inside the defender to head home a cross by Manolo Gaspar.

The islanders fought back, though, and pulled level at the spot through Alfaro with five minutes left after Málaga defender Patrick Mtiliga was sent off for a professional foul on Nino.

TEAM NEWS

Zaragoza

Angel Lafita, who has a sore knee, is poised to be the only absentee in the Zaragoza side as Ikechukwu Uche and Ivan Obradovic are finally back training as normal alongside their team-mates.

Leonardo Ponzio returns after a suspension.

Probable Starting XI:
Roberto; Diogo, Jarosik, Contini, Ponzio; Edmilson, Gabi; Adrian, Herrera, Eliseu; Suazo

Malaga

The visiting side is riddled with problems ahead of their trip to Aragon. Manolo Gaspar is a heavy doubt, while there are also severe questions about the participation of Victor Obinna. Duda may be available after bruising a toenail though.

Helder Rosario is out with a hamstring tear, while Milan Stepanov is missing for a similar reason, though he is in the final stages of his recovery. Weligton is out for the remainder of the season with an ankle problem.

Dismissed against Tenerife last weekend, there will be no place in the squad for Denmark international Patrick Mtiliga.

Probable Starting XI:
Munua; Gaspar, Gamez, Gonzalez, Mtiliga; Apono, Toribio; Fernando, Baha, Dudu; Caicedo

PLAYERS TO WATCH

Zaragoza

After a confident finish against former employers Valencia last weekend, Javier Arizmendi has propelled himself to become los Manos’ second top scorer this season. If the club are to continue pushing themselves away from the foot of the table, his all-round contribution will need to remain at the same high standard it touched last Saturday.

Malaga

Apono has had trouble earning himself a regular first team berth this season, though his contribution of a goal last weekend will certainly have helped his cause substantially. The 26-year-old, who has managed four goals this term, all four of which have been his side’s opening goal of their respective games, strikes a sweet ball and could be a threat from distance, though his primary occupation will be breaking up play.

PREDICTION

The hosts will be positively buzzing before this game after their fine triumph over Valencia. Los Manos cannot afford to take the challenge of Malaga too lightly, but they should still have enough quality to see their way past their guests if they produce the kind of football they mustered last weekend. Saturday’s game is unlikely to prove so simple, but Zaragoza should be backed as winners.

Zaragoza 2-1 Malaga

(GC/SW/MG/rex)

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