Real Zaragoza v Granada preview
Real Zaragoza can keep their slender hopes of staying up alive with a victory over their relegation rivals Granada.
Last Updated: 14/04/12 5:13pm
Julio Cesar: Won't take Zaragoza lightly
Granada goalkeeper Julio Cesar has warned his team-mates that they must not treat relegation favourites Real Zaragoza lightly when the two sides meet at La Romareda on Sunday.
Zaragoza looked to be clawing their way out of the Primera Division relegation zone when they inflicted defeats on Atletico Madrid, Sporting Gijon and high-flying Valencia recently, but a 4-1 hammering at home to Champions League semi-finalists Barcelona, and Thursday's 3-0 thumping at Sevilla leaves Los Blanquillos desperately close to the drop.
Sky Bet Odds
Real Zaragoza - 23/20, Draw - 12/5, Granada - 23/10 Bet now
Manolo Jimenez, who took over the struggling Aragon side in December from Javier Aguirre, admitted following the Sevilla defeat that it would be "very difficult" to keep Zaragoza up, as they are now seven points from safety with just six league matches left.
Granada stopper Cesar thinks it would be wrong to underestimate their lowly opponents on Sunday, however.
"We must treat them with humility and respect. We are strong, but Zaragoza have quality and they always go out to win," the Brazilian was quoted as saying on as.com.
Granada were among the favourites for the drop when they were promoted last summer but the Andalucian outfit are eight points above the bottom three and, aside from a clash with leaders Real Madrid next month, they have a decent run-in.
Manager Abel Resino turned to Cesar to fill in between the posts after first-choice stopper Roberto finally underwent an operation to remove a hernia that had been troubling him all season.
Cesar, who is on loan from Benfica, kept a clean sheet in the club's draw with Mallorca and looked good in last weekend's creditable 2-2 draw against Athletic Bilbao.
He feels he is growing in confidence with every first-team opportunity he gets.
He added: "I played well to say I haven't been playing much. I am playing with more confidence now. I am happy with my performance last week, although I would have been happier if we had won but that was another point for us and we are going in the right direction - up."
To make matters worse for Zaragoza manager Jimenez, Ivan Obradovic has not trained this week and is unlikely to feature against Granada, Apono has now been ruled out for up to three weeks and Adam Pinter will be given a test before seeing whether he can play on Sunday.
Best Bet: Real Zaragoza to win 1-0 - 6/1
Spanish Primera BBVA