Mixed fortunes for Zaragoza and Gijon
Strugglers Real Zaragoza suffered a 1-0 defeat to Real Mallorca while Sporting Gijon boosted their survival hopes with a 2-1 win over Rayo Vallecano.
Victor Casadesus' 34th minute header sealed a 1-0 victory for Mallorca and consigned Manolo Jimenez’ men to a third defeat in four games, leaving them on 31 points and five adrift of Granada in 17th place. On the other hand, the islanders are now assured of top-flight football next season and boss Joaquin Caparros expressed his “enormous satisfaction” afterwards.
“I congratulate everybody at the club, the players, supporters and coaches, who have all worked tremendously hard to get us to 43 points and salvation, so it gives me enormous satisfaction,” he beamed. “It has been a very hard year for Mallorca as we are coming out of administration and that says a lot about the strength of the people here.
“I was extremely glad to be offered the job after a difficult month in Switzerland and we are talking about a contract for next year. But there is nothing definite and it’s better to wait until the end of the season,” he added.
Sporting Gijon drew level on points with Zaragoza after a vital 2-1 home win over nine-man Villarreal at El Molinon thanks to Mate Bilic’s late strike. Gaston Sangoy gave the hosts the lead on 17 minutes and despite a Mikel Labaka equaliser six minutes after the break substitute Bilic’s goal 13 minutes from time sealed the points, the Croatian striking a free-kick over the defensive wall to beat goalkeeper Joel.
Bilic’s winner came after Rayo saw Labaka and Jose Manuel Casado dismissed in the final 15 minutes to set up a tense finale, and Sporting boss Javier Clemente says his team will continue to fight until it is no longer mathematically possible to stay up.
“It was a very difficult game but this team leaves its heart and soul on the pitch every time despite problems elsewhere at the club”, commented the former Spain boss, who with his usual inscrutable expression then asked: “What time are Barcelona and Real Madrid playing?"