Zaragoza look to test Barca for survival

Barcelona 's opponents Real Zaragoza have plenty to think about as they head into the final throes of the season embroiled in a relegation scrap.

Lionel Messi of Barcelona scores against Real Zara

Manolo Jimenez's strugglers sit just one point off the relegation zone after a morale-sapping defeat at the hand of fellow relegation-fighters Deportivo La Coruna last week.

The visit of the runaway league leaders is hardly the test Zaragoza would have chosen as they bid to snap a 14-game winless run in all competitions, but nevertheless defender Alvaro Gonzalez has called for optimism despite the pain of last week's 3-2 loss at Deportivo.

"We had the chance to strike a blow in our bid for survival but it wasn't meant to be," he said.

Gonzalez said his team must take their chances against Barca and called for the same attitude they showed in their impressive 1-1 home draw against Real Madrid on March 30.

"Everyone said it would be very difficult for us against Real Madrid and we snatched a point, so why can't we do the same against Barcelona?" he said.

Striker Helder Postiga added: "The match against Barcelona is one more game. But games like this can change things. If we can get a positive result, it will increase the team's confidence."

Zaragoza's bid for an upset at Barca's expense is likely to aided by the Catalans' reluctance to risk the fitness of star forward Lionel Messi.

The Argentina international was a doubt for the midweek visit of Paris St Germain in the Champions League due to a hamstring injury but was able to make a game-changing impact from the bench in the second half, playing a key part in Pedro's equaliser as Barca squeaked through on away goals.

Messi appeared to be limping towards the end of the match but assistant coach Jordi Roura said he was not seriously injured.

"If he has a little niggle it's not important, Leo is one of those players that knows how to look after himself."

Nevertheless, Messi is expected to be rested when Barca travel to Zaragoza this weekend, with one eye no doubt on their Champions League semi-final against Bayern Munich later this month.



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