Real Zaragoza 1-0 Tenerife: Arizmendi Makes The Difference In Dour Encounter

There is still much work to be done for both of the promoted sides on the evidence of their season opener...
Real Zaragoza 1-0 Tenerife - Lineups/Stats
La Liga Fixtures, Results

Real Zaragoza edged their game with Tenerife to take all three points at La Romareda, but there is a long season ahead of both promoted sides unless there is significant improvement on both accounts.

Six new faces were present in Zaragoza's line up, including former Liverpool winger Jermaine Pennant, to take on Tenerife. The island outfit arrived in the Primera Division this year, along with Zaragoza, after finishing third in the Segunda Division last term.

It was an open start to the game: Pennant sent a dangerous ball in for the hosts that no one could connect with, while at the other end on-loan striker Alejandro Alfaro fired a shot just wide of the far post.

The visitors were struggling to find a foot-hold in the game's early stages, with Ikechukwu Uche looking particularly lively, and Sergio Aragoneses did well to palm Gabi's deflected shot wide for a corner.

The early pressure came to nothing, however, and Tenerife then forced a succession of four corners as they enjoyed some time in los Blanquillos' half.

Both sides were somewhat lacking with their final ball into the area, until the 34th minute when Richi found himself with a yard of space in the penalty box but could only glance his header wide.

Los Blanquiazules had two excellent chances to take the lead shortly before the break. Nino was played in behind the Zaragoza defence, but Juan Pablo Carrizo rushed out of his goal quickly to block the shot, before the unmarked Alfaro flashed a shot wide from 10 yards.

Jose Luis Oltra's side ended the period as the better team, but the score remained 0-0 at the break.

Zaragoza came out full of intent after half time, and could have taken the lead in the 48th minute but Jorge Lopez's cross was inches above Javier Arizmendi's head.

Daniel Kome was causing problems by pulling out wide, but Carrizo collected his deflected shot after he cut in from the left wing in the 56th minute. For the hosts, it was Jermaine Pennant who was creating opportunities down the right hand side, while Aragoneses did well to save a shot from Leonardo Ponzio.

After 65 minutes, Kome turned excellently to beat two players inside the penalty area but his shot was deflected wide for a corner as the visitors grew in confidence. Alfaro had another chance for Tenerife but couldn't get his header on target from Nino's cross in the 70th minute.

Despite Tenerife's pressure, it was Zaragoza who took the lead on 73 minutes in chaotic circumstances. Uche burst into the penalty area and the ball dropped loose, and after the visitors failed to clear their lines Javier Arizmendi poked the ball into the corner after Aragoneses had saved his first effort.

Los Blanquiazules upped their tempo as they were forced to chase the game, but could not fashion a clear chance despite having the lion's share of possession.

Nino had a chance at the death for the visitors, but controlled the ball with his hand and the game finished 1-0 to Zaragoza. While there were promising signs for Oltra's side, they must be more clinical in front of goal if they are to avoid relegation this year.

Anthony Wright, Goal.com