Liga - Betis pile misery on Zaragoza
Real Zaragoza remain five points adrift at the bottom of La Liga after they lost 2-0 to Real Betis at La Romareda.
Betis's top scorer Ruben Castro netted a goal in either half to claim a league double over Zaragoza for the Andalucian side that lifts them six points clear of the relegation zone.
Betis won a thrilling clash 4-3 when these two sides met back in September that put them top of the table, but there was little indication that the crowd at La Romareda would be in for a repeat of that scoreline.
Ruben Micael had an early strike from range parried in theatrical fashion by Fabricio Ramirez before Jose Antonio Dorado blocked Luis Garcia's header on the line, but that was as good as it got for Manolo Jimenez's beleaguered side.
Zaragoza enjoyed most of the possession but severely lacked the cutting edge that has been wanting for much of the season – no side in the division has scored fewer than their 18 goals this season – and they were duly punished on 40 minutes.
Zaragoza made a change early in the second half by bringing on Juan Carlos. The striker scored a brace in the reverse fixture, but was largely anonymous as Betis continued to look far more convincing than their hosts.
Ruben Castro had a near-post volley saved and Salva Sevilla's follow-up was blocked shortly before Pablo Alvarez played the goal scorer onside but redeemed himself but clearing the striker's effort off the line.
As the match entered its final quarter Betis struck what looks likely to be a mortal blow for Zaragoza.
Roberto managed to parry Molina's initial effort but Ruben Castro was on hand to tuck home his ninth league goal of the season on the rebound to all but ensure Betis of a fourth win from their last five visits to Zaragoza.
Substitute Jonathan Pereira summed up Betis turning on the style in the closing stages when his sumptuous dink over the keeper came back off the post, and Zaragoza looked a beaten side long before the final whistle.
After claiming only their third win of the season last time out at Espanyol – arresting a run of 14 top-flight matches without a victory – it appears that was a blip in an otherwise downward trajectory for Zaragoza, who are now eight points from safety.