Sevilla grabs three points over Zaragoza

Sevilla coach Marcelino Garcia Toral enjoyed a win over his former club as Alvaro Negredo’s first-half winner added to Real Zaragoza’s woes.

Negredo, a lively presence until injury forced him off, won and converted a 23rd-minute penalty which ultimately separated the sides.

Zaragoza had just two shots on target and remain second from bottom of the Primera Division, while Sevilla move above Malaga into fifth place.

Helder Postiga dragged an early effort wide for Zaragoza before Ivan Rakitic tested home keeper Roberto Jimenez from distance.

Negredo was denied a penalty after he appeared to be taken down in the box by Leonardo Ponzio, though Rakitic had been spared in a marginal handball decision earlier in the same attack.

Luis Garcia’s weak header at the other end was easily held by keeper Javi Varas before Roberto saved from Diego Perotti.

Negredo then got his spot-kick decision when he was hacked down by David Mateos midway through the first half and the Spain international stepped up to fire home a superb left-footed penalty via the base of the post – beyond the reach of Roberto, who dived the right way.

Negredo surged past the same defender again straight from the restart but fired across the face of goal.

Federico Fazio’s clearance prevented Angel Lafita getting a shot away in Zaragoza’s first genuinely threatening attack.

Roberto tipped over Piotr Trochowski’s dipping shot but Zaragoza exerted some belated pressure as the interval approached.

Javi Varas had to save from that man Negredo, who sliced an attempted clearance dangerously towards his own goal, and Postiga then shot high and wide as half-time arrived with Sevilla’s lead intact.

In a quiet start to the second period, Javier Paredes’ long-range effort did not unduly trouble Varas.

More noteworthy was the departure of Negredo, who was replaced by Manu del Moral and immediately had strapping applied to his right hamstring.

Trochowski set up a shooting chance with a neat turn but skewed his left-foot effort well wide while at the other end, Emir Spahic blocked Ponzio’s effort and Postiga and Lafita were off target from distance.

Juan Carlos’ sliced cross threatened to turn into a dangerous shot on goal, but Varas stayed alert to tip the ball over.

Substitute Jose Campana had a good chance to put the game beyond the hosts with two minutes remaining when Jesus Navas squared the ball to him, but his weak finish was brilliantly saved by Roberto.

Things went from bad to worse for Zaragoza in the last minute as Juan Carlos was shown a straight red card for swinging an arm at Andujar Coke – just moments after Maurizio Lanzaro had escaped punishment in a similar incident.

Emiliano Armenteros lashed a powerful shot straight at Roberto but Zaragoza had no answer and the visitors held on with little difficulty.