Lanzaro eyes Reggina-esque escape

MADRID - Real Zaragoza's Maurizio Lanzaro is counting on the relegation-threatened La Liga side matching the escape act pulled off by his former club Reggina against giants AC Milan on the final match day of Serie A in May 2007.

Reggina were in a similarly precarious position when they hosted Milan, who rested key players following their victory over Liverpool to win the 2007 Champions League, and a 2-0 win preserved the tiny club's top-flight status for another year.

Zaragoza's opponents for Saturday's final game of the 2010/11 La Liga season are the much less imposing Levante and Lanzaro is expecting an easier ride given that the Valencia-based club are already safe.

"I played a similar match with Reggina against Milan, who had just become European champions," the Italian defender said in an interview published in Thursday's edition of As newspaper.

"We had to win to avoid the drop and we managed it," added Lanzaro, who joined Zaragoza at the end of the 2009/10 campaign.

"For sure we are going to face a team that could be less focused than us, who are playing for our lives, because they have already secured their objective.

"I don't think they will have the same aggression and concentration as usual."

With Almeria and Hercules already down, Zaragoza occupy the 18th and last relegation place on 42 points from 37 matches.

In a heavily congested bottom half of the table, five other teams are still in danger of dropping down to the second division, a plight that could exacerbate an already parlous financial situation for some of them.


Deportivo La Coruna and Getafe are on 43 points, while Real Mallorca, Real Sociedad and Osasuna have 44.

Deportivo host Valencia, who are assured of third and an automatic berth in next season's Champions League, Real Sociedad are at home to Getafe, Osasuna host fourth-placed Villarreal and Mallorca are at home to Atletico Madrid.

Villarreal cannot be caught, while Atletico, in seventh behind Athletic Bilbao and Sevilla, are eyeing a win to try to avoid the Europa League qualification round and an early return from their summer holiday.

"We are going for the three points and try to end the season as well as possible because it's not the same getting a direct spot (in the Europa League) as having to qualify," Atletico midfielder Koke told a news conference on Wednesday.

"It's always nice to have a longer vacation," the 19-year-old added.

Barcelona, who clinched their third straight La Liga title last week, play at Malaga, while second-placed Real Madrid host Almeria.

Real forward Cristiano Ronaldo has one more match in which to beat the La Liga scoring record of 38, which he equalled with two goals against Villarreal last weekend.

"Cristiano has scored nearly 40 goals so we're all very happy for him," Real's Argentina striker Gonzalo Higuain said at a media event on Tuesday. "He deserves the Golden Boot and we hope he wins it."