Jimenez: Zaragoza fate in our hands
Real Zaragoza coach Manuel Jimenez said his side had deserved some luck after a controversial penalty set them on the way to Sunday's 3-0 win over Rayo Vallecano.
With Sunday's game at La Romareda still goalless midway through the first half, referee Fernando Teixeira Vitienes awarded a spot-kick against Rayo's Jordi Figueras for handball. Replays clearly showed the ball had hit the defender's thigh, but Zaragoza midfielder Apono ignored the visitors' loud complaints to open the scoring.
Second-half strikes from ex-Sheffield Wednesday attacker Rodri and Apono again sealed a win for the Aragonese side which lifted them out of the relegation zone.
The Andalucian coach, who oversaw Zaragoza's unlikely escape from the drop last season, said the effort his players had shown recently meant they had deserved a break.
"Because of the work we were putting in, one day luck had to shine on us," Jimenez said. "But we still have four finals left to play. Our fate is in our own hands, although we are just one point above the relegation zone. We have done nothing yet."
There was an extra spotlight on La Liga's relegation battle this weekend, given last week's reports that the Spanish authorities were to open an investigation into possible match-fixing in Deportivo La Coruna's 4-0 win at Levante on April 13.
Mallorca, Celta Vigo and Depor, who all drew at home, now make up the Primera Division's bottom three. Zaragoza are now 17th, level on points with Osasuna, who were beaten 4-0 at Valencia on Saturday. Granada's 1-0 win at home to Malaga has lifted them to 15th spot, three points clear of the drop zone.
Jimenez said his side needed to win at Levante next week to remain in control of their own destiny.
"We are who we are," he said. "Were not so bad before, nor so good now. If we beat Levante [this win] will be even more important. If not the doubts will return."