Real Zaragoza and Servette FC played out a goalless draw at the La Romareda stadium in Thursday night’s UEFA Cup second round first-leg tie and it was the Swiss visitors who had the better of the proceedings.
Zaragoza are currently struggling in the Spanish first division defensively they appeared nervous at times, while in attack they found it hard to get forward in support of their isolated striker Jorge González. As a result, after some early flourishes, it was Servette who created the best openings and with a touch more composure they may well have left with a win to take back to Geneva.
Wilson Oruma, a dangerous presence for Servette all night, almost broke the deadlock midway through the first half with a fierce right-footed drive that took a deflection before smacking against a post. Seconds later Alexander Frei made a hash of a one-on-one situation with César Laínez, curling his shot past the post.
For Zaragoza, their best chance of the evening came shortly after the break when a cross from the right found Paulo Jamelli unmarked in the area with goalkeeper Eric Pedat stranded. Somehow though the Zaragoza forward managed to drag his shot wide of an open goal.
That amazing miss appeared to knock the stuffing out of the home players and their supporters and it was Servette who dominated from that point onwards. Frei and Oruma were a constant menace to the Zaragoza back four and had the former passed to the latter on the hour mark, Lucien Favre’s team would surely have scored.
Instead, it was Zaragoza who spent the final quarter of the match in search of a winning goal and in the 92nd minute substitute Juanmi García met Santiago Aragón’s superb centre with a diving header from the penalty spot, but like Zaragoza’s evening, it was off target.
‘Servette played better’
After the match, Servette coach Favre said: “We have played a great match. We began a little bit nervous but after 15 minutes we took the control.” However he warned his team that: “the hardest work is still to be done. We have only completed one step”.
Work to do
His counterpart José Francisco Rojo Arroita’s view of the game was that his side “did not play well". He said: "Servette played better, faster, they arrived earlier to every ball." Indeed, Rojo Arroita’s side left the field to a chorus of boos and they will need to play a lot better in a fortnight’s time in Switzerland if they are to progress to the next round.