Los Racinguistas have lost their two opening games of the season, while los Manos were defeated last weekend in a remarkable encounter...
With no goals scored and four conceded, Racing de Santander have kicked the campaign off in an inauspicious manner and will want to quickly chalk their first points onto the board by claiming something at home against Zaragoza on Sunday afternoon.
Opening the season up at home against Barcelona was never going to be an easy task for los Verdiblancos, who struggled to get themselves into a competitive position against the Catalans before going down 3-0. Things got little easier last weekend when the Santander outfit travelled to Valencia, losing 1-0 against another side in the Champions League.
Zaragoza represent by far the easiest challenge for Racing thus far, and in many respects this is where their season starts in earnest. “I am a little sad, but we are on the right track,” coach Miguel Angel Portugal explained to the media after last weekend’s defeat. “If we can play like this, we will collect victories.”
Racing won’t want to be left isolated at the foot of the table early on, so beating one of the teams who struggled over the course of last term with them would be an ideal way to get their season up and running.
Correct What Went Wrong
A campaign of relative underperformance was how Zaragoza’s season last year was judged, as they only pulled away from relegation danger in the last few weeks of the campaign, having been in deep trouble before a January spending spree instigated their push towards survival.
Jose Aurelio Gay’s men are already back towards the foot of the Primera Division standings after just two games of the new season. An opening day draw against Deportivo La Coruna represented a good start to proceedings, but following it up with a 5-3 loss at home to Malaga was certainly not in the plan.
Strangely, Gay will have come away from that match with some feelings of optimism. His team was woeful defensively in the first half, falling 5-0 behind after just 35 minutes of play. Los Manos did manage to recoup some pride with a rally in the second period, building upon a goal from Edmilson before the interval to restore some respectability by scoring twice more.
“We have to assess what went wrong,” Jorge Lopez stated to the media. “The coach has given us his backing today and has tried to correct things. We must keep out heads held high, and begin to think about the next match versus Racing Santander.
“We played well for a few minutes but each time they would score a goal, and that was hard to take. The team reacted and showed its face in the second half, but now we have to make a clean slate and think of Santander.”
Another defeat at the weekend will leave los Manos suddenly questioning themselves once again, so a far more complete performance is required.
Last weekend’s performance means that there is no need to drastically change the squad. Miguel Angel Portugal doesn’t have any significant injury problems, aside from Markus Rosenberg, who has sprained his knee, so alterations will be kept to a minimum.
Probable Starting XI: Tono; Perez, Torrejon, Henrique, Cisma; Diop, Colsa; Bakircioglu, Munitis, Arana; Ariel
Jorge Lopez sprained his right ankle and has been rendered a doubt for the fixture, while Leo Ponzio’s recovery from a twisted knee is said to be going well. Marco Perez has also missed some training this week, as has been the case with Said Boutahar.
Florent Sinama-Pongolle and Angel Lafita both took fairly big knocks in training, but both have shrugged these off. Victor Laguardia and Ikechukwu Uche are long-term issues.
Probable Starting XI: Leo Franco; Diogo, Jarosik, Contini, Obradovic; Gabi, Edmilson; Sinama-Pongolle, Ander, Bertolo; Marco Perez